Before booking a holiday, most of us probably check online review sites to make sure we aren't planning a stay in the hotel from hell,.
As many of us also know, these reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt. From people who expect five star service from a two star establishment to other who will five one star as they didn't care for the colour of the curtains, it takes time to read between the lines.
Luckily, hotels have a right of reply to these reviews, and we've found one that makes us want to stand up and applaud.
Allow us to set the scene.
A lady from California recently spent a night at Hotel Doolin in Clare with her husband and their son, and was, shall we say, a little displeased with her visit.
Giving the hotel just one star out of five, she wrote about the 'lying staff', the 'worst WiFi', and the 'filthy floors'.
"Emma at the desk lied to me," she wrote. "At first she told me that her only availability was a double bed but we had three people (myself, husband and son). So I asked if she could recommend another place in town and she told me that there was only BB in town and no other hotels. We decided to make a few calls and then she said she could put us in a handicap bathroom that has a double and a single bed.
"The price then jumped up considerably of course because we went to needing that single bed. Base price was 240 Euro per night. She went onto say that they have high star rating and basically the best in town.
"We were hungry and tired. So we booked the unit. Ate a meal at Flannigans which they also own/attached to the hotel. Talk about attitudes. Wow, up until this point the irish are awesome. But these folks I wanted to leave as quickly as I could before being snarled out from a bunch of grumpy ole men, overworked and despise one more traveler packing in the joint. Food was OK, I would give it a C+ at best.
"We drove around after we ate and there were so many more places to stay with vacancy. and Here is what really was a bummer. They advertise for free wifi. It is the worst wifi ever!!!
"So Emma-- stop the dishonest approach. Work with your customers and be truthful with them. There are so many other hotels right in the nearby area available and I bet has way better amenities..The wifi is so bad it could not even load up a small pics or video (you do not get what you paid for). Floors/carpet is filthy."
Seems like a terrible stay, right? Well, according to Donal, the general manager who replied, she's wrong.
"Thank you for staying with us at Hotel Doolin on your recent trip to Ireland and for posting your feedback. We were very disappointed with the content of your review. However, after investigating the particulars of your stay in detail with all team members I was even more disappointed to learn that the content of the review was not an accurate reflection of what actually happened," he wrote.
"From the title of your review, other readers would think that you inadvertently stumbled into Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn and that Hotel Doolin was full of brigands and cutthroats, that our staff wear eye patches and pantaloons and are hiding behind the pillars in the lobby, cutlass clenched between our teeth, waiting to jump out and pillage passerbys.
"You say the hotel is deceitful and dishonest and that one of our staff members, Emma, is a liar when, in fact, it is your good self that is being liberal with the truth.
"Emma did make a mistake on check-in with the rate, this was spotted the following morning by one of our more senior receptionists and was rectified before you checked out so that you never paid €240 as you stated above. Also, the duty manager met you the following morning, apologised for the mistake and gave you a further reduction on your rate.
"We are 100% certain that Emma made a genuine mistake, as sometimes people do, and we feel it is very unfair and irresponsible of you to call her a liar and dishonest on a public forum.
"I'm sensing a lot of anger in the review above and I know that you probably didn't mean to let loose all that anger on us. Hey, sometimes people just need to vent. Sometimes at night when I come home from a long day’s work at the hotel, I check to see if everyone is in bed and then I go out into the field at the back of my house and scream into the darkness. I let it all out, like a wolf on a moonlit mountain. I feel better after that and nobody gets hurt. I'm not saying howling into the night like a wolf will work for you, I don’t know your circumstances, you may have neighbours that’ll think it is weird, but there are other ways of channelling rage that don't have to involve Hotel Doolin and slandering Emma.
"With regards the Wi-Fi, yes, the Wi-Fi in the west of Ireland is the worst in Europe, there is nothing we can do about this for the moment, although I think we are getting high-speed broadband in the area pretty soon. in the meantime, to anybody else reading this review. DO NOT COME TO DOOLIN IF WI-FI IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN HUMAN INTERACTION, YOU WILL BE DISAPOINTED.
"There are three men over the age of forty working in the hotel. Only one of them was working on the night you stayed, so we didn’t know how to deal with the ‘grumpy old men’ in your review, until my assistant manager came up with the only viable solution. We’ve decided to execute all three of these men to ensure that no other guests will have to endure the horrific ordeal you went through that evening in the bar. Paul, Martin and Luis will be blindfolded and shot in the back of the head at Fitz’s cross after mass this Sunday. There will be trad music, cocktail sausages and face-painting for the kids and I can organise a pair of complimentary tickets for you if you wish to attend. I know this will not make up for what happened to you but we hope it will go some way towards showing you that we take your feedback seriously.
"You see, even though you hurt us deeply with your review, we'd still like to be friends, we'd love if you afforded us the opportunity to change your opinion of us and hope that you will return to Doolin someday. In fact, each year on the 30th February we have a party for our valued past customers who think we are liars, we all hold hands and dance around a campfire and sing songs that help us forget about the past and look with hope towards the future.
"We'd love if you could make it (that lying cheating ruffian Emma won’t be there, we promise)."
Now THAT is how you stand up for your staff.
The reaction to Donal and Hotel Doolin's response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Some people are evening trying to get it featured on US talk shows