Glowing reviews on TripAdvisor about your hotel, B&B or restaurant can do wonders for business.

But, as we’ve so often seen time and time again, if those reviews have been manufactured with the self-serving purpose of misleading potential customers then it could spell PR disaster for virtually any establishment that gets caught red-handed.

We always advise clients against ever remotely considering manipulating user-generated content as, notwithstanding the unethical aspects of such practice, the consequences in the event of being found out can be very severe indeed.

So you’d have to say that the manager of a Scottish hotel, who ordered his staff to write fake complimentary TripAdvisor reviews, had only himself to blame when an employee blew the whistle and reported his misdemeanours to a Scottish tabloid newspaper.

Manager of the Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel, Frank Long, is believed to have circulated an email to members of staff, asking them to write bogus positive comments on the travel website in a bid to counter a spate of recent online negative reviews.

He advised employees not to go overboard, so that comments would appear to be genuine, and is also alleged to have said that he would deny everything should details of his dirty dealings ever come to light.

Bogus review as seen in the Daily Mail

But now the chickens have well and truly come home to roost, as several leading national newspapers have picked up on the scam, pointing the finger firmly at the general manager and heaping severe public embarrassment on the purpose-built 3-star hotel.

Amongst the series of phoney reviews include comments such as the ‘friendliest airport hotel anywhere and ‘This is now my hotel of choice when staying in Glasgow!’.

In the event that a client ever asked us what they should do if they were regularly on the receiving end of negative customer comments online then our answer would be somewhat different.

We’d advise them to instead show that they actually listen to what customers have to say by addressing their negative feedback and using their comments as a way to improve their products or services accordingly.