A DUBLIN hotel manager has hit out at two German guests at his establishment, who he claimed attempted to blackmail staff in order to gain a discount.
Paul Stenson, manager of the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Phibsborough, said the guests had complained of “a small amount of dust on the main lampshade in the room and the headboard wasn’t entirely horizontal”.
In a scathing yet apparently sarcastic rebuttal on the hotel’s Facebook page, Mr Stenson said the pair then “produced photographic evidence of said irritations at the reception desk”, going on to attempt what Mr Stenson coined as a ‘Travel Review Threat (TRT)’.
He said that staff had cleaned the dust and straightened the headboard.
“I told them to use a spirit level when carrying out the straightening exercise. Rest assured that they will be disciplined over the lampshade issue, and I am currently looking into buying pocket sized spirit levels for every team member, so no further equilibrium issues take place in relation to head boards (or any fitting, for that matter).
“I subsequently learned that once you were made aware that these issues had been resolved, you said that there were more issues that we needed to ‘do something’ about.
“I believe that all of a sudden the door handle to the bathroom became slightly loose and the right door of the wardrobe was approximately 1cm short of a closing perfectly. More photographic evidence was produced here, and words along the lines of ‘do something about it’.”
Mr Stenson continued: “There appears to be a very dark trend emerging in the wonderful world of hospitality. There is a small cohort of travellers who use travel review sites as a means of ‘travelling economically’.”
“Essentially what they do is they take photos of some minor issue relating to the hotel room, and use photo editing software (namely the zoom function) to make the issue look ten times worse than it actually is.
“They then show this image to the hotel reception, and advise the receptionist that this image, along with some scathing words, will appear on the internet in a number of days, if ‘something is not done’ about the issue.
“When they say, ‘something is not done’, they usually mean a substantial discount on the room rate, or no charge for their room at all.”
Mr Stenson said that while some hotels “fall into the trap” of the TRT, “we will respond with threats of equal (or usually greater) proportion. If there is any material posted online by a guest that constitutes slander or could be described as defamatory, we will have no hesitation in taking legal action against this guest.
“Travel review sites are unassailable as they have terms and conditions that are so complex that it would be easier to understand a document written in some obscure dialect of Swahili, but in any case we firmly believe that it is the person who took the photos, and wrote the words, that should be tackled, sued for damages and made pay associated legal costs.”
However, he reassured his German guests that he wasn’t targeting them specifically.
“German guests, please don't get me wrong. I am not saying for one minute that you fall into this category. I am confident that the rationale behind taking the photos was simply a way of showing our team exactly what was wrong in the room, to save us from having to walk up to the first floor to see for ourselves.”
Mr Stenson told Independent.ie tonight that he “100pc stood by what I wrote on the Facebook page” and confirmed that the guests had checked out this morning.