I hate TripAdvisor

I don’t know any business person that actually ‘likes’ TripAdvisor.

No matter how good your business, there will always be that moment when you feel completely and utterly deflated when you get a ‘bad’ review. My bestest pals who have a most amazing B&B in Tyndrum, Glengarry House, got one recently (not deserved) when the family complained about everything. Including the weather. Including the portions served (ridiculous), I am sure Ellen can fill you in on what she fed the family, including the large portions. I hope that Ellen comments on this blog.

So, TripAdvisor. When I get an email notification and scroll down on my phone, there’s that feeling of dread. It’s always a joy, when you get more than 3 ‘blobs’. There’s the maximum of 5 ‘blobs’. The one that brings back the memories of ”WTF’?’Was the ‘older’ woman who complained about bikers and walkers making her and her companion feel uncomfortable and intimidated. Whatever. As you can imagine, I signed off my reply with, “Fiona Robertson, Partner, Motorcyclist.” The best bit was the customer who wrote a review, criticising that report, complimenting the business and its diversity and basically ripping that review to bits. Bless you. Another one, was a motorcyclist recommending that motorcyclists should not, under any circumstances, ride through Glencoe, because it’s windy. Really? You can only imagine my reply. Words to the effect of ‘Don’t be ridiculous, how can I possibly advise people NOT to ride through one of the most iconic areas of Scotland?’ I signed off that reply with, yes, you guessed it, ‘Fiona Robertson, Partner, Motorcyclist’.

So, the other day, we got a review. I scrolled down and saw the title, “Concerned”. I read the review and literally rubbed my hands together. Too much? I don’t care. I wrote the answer with confidence. Upon further investigation, Helga, one of our Team Leaders, did walk passed their table, heard a comment about the fact she had an egg on a roll, and then moved that roll onto a plate. Apparently, the customer had changed their mind from an egg roll to a vegetarian breakfast. Upon checking it was OK, Helga transferred the egg onto the plate. They, the reviewing customers obviously didn’t approve. Got to love opinionated ‘foodie’ customers.

So, this is what I got and how I replied.

Oban, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
15 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2015 NEW via mobile
stopped of here en rout to glasgow as we do often but decided to pop in for a bacon and tattie scone roll and coffee this time on reaching the serving area my concern was the ammount of non catering staff serving themselves from the hot hold which in my view leads to a high risk of cross contamination nevertheless we sat down with our our purchase but after one bite wished we had headed the warning signs luke warm, tattie scones like cardboard and the cheapest of bacon which after paying £12.30 for the two rolls two coffee I felt a bit in the robbed side have eaten here in the past and it was ok but dont think Ill be hurrying back
Visited November 2015


Firstly, I apologise that you didn’t receive the quality expected in your roll. Given you have reported it on here; I do hope that you took back your unsatisfactory food and brought it to the attention of our team. The response would have been immediate; your money refunded and your food replaced. At that point, we would then examine the sub-standard quality and use it for training purposes and make sure that others don’t receive the same.

You didn’t mention any of this in your ‘concerned’ report, so I am presuming that you didn’t tell us at the time? I would really like to know more details and will send you a pm, copying this reply.

The other comment you make about cross-contamination. I can assure you every member of my team is FULLY trained in food handling, commensurate to their job role. From the minute they have induction they are given appropriate training, including but not restricted to, hand washing. Following induction, our team then attend REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene training – I am a fully qualified trainer and our business is a REHIS Registered Training Centre. I fully understand the risks there are and we take appropriate action if anyone forgets to wash their hands, tie their hair up or use the wrong equipment provided to avoid any cross contamination.

It’s a very important subject and one we take very seriously indeed. So, you observed non-food and beverage team serving themselves? Did they not wash their hands? Did they handle the food incorrectly? Were they behaving in a manner that may have caused cross contamination? If so, then please give me details. We have a lot of staff, 90 of them, we take great pride in our hygiene standards and any member of staff failing to meet those standards are disciplined appropriately.

Every person that goes to collect their food from the counter has been fully trained and we have the training records to prove it. There are also the certificates on the wall for those that have attended Elementary Food Hygiene. Of our current team, only 10 (out of 90 employees) have not been on the full course. They are retail or admin based and have only had ‘introductory food hygiene training’ (as required by law if they handle food). We are human though, mistakes can be made. People are, well, people and can be absent minded. If you observed our team and there was ‘bad practice’ and there ACTUALLY was a risk of contamination then I want to be the first to know, at the time, so something can be done. I certainly don’t want to find out later via TripAdvisor, especially given it caused you ‘concern’.

I see from your profile that you consider yourself to be a ‘foodie’. As a foodie, I hope you take the information above in the way it’s intended. As a ‘foodie’ too, if I had an issue, I wouldn’t leave without discussing it with a member of management. Never the less, I always take on board feedback and have already discussed it with my team. I hope you might be so kind to reply to my message giving me details of what you ate and when: day and time, so I can have a chat with my team.

You see, we take this very seriously indeed. We do though like to get the chance to rectify mistakes that we make.

Kind regards
Fiona Robertson
Diploma HCIM;
Diploma Advanced Food Hygiene;
Diploma Advanced HACCP – just to note my qualifications relevant to this reply.
The Green Welly Stop

Do you think they will reply?

I still hate TripAdvisor. My outlook, for what it’s worth: if you don’t tell us at the time, you can foxtrot oscar. You deserve the reply you get. Give us a chance to fix it, you probably won’t post there at all. For me, if I have a TripAdvisor comment to make, it’s always positive. I have no right what so ever to write a review where I haven’t told the management at the time what I think.

I will step off my soap box now.

Please leave a comment. How do you use TripAdvisor? Is it good? Do you take it with a pinch of salt?

On another note, Rory (my grammar guru), it pains me that the ‘quote’ from the customer obviously can’t spell and doesn’t grasp the gift of apostrophes. I was so tempted to re-write her report and correct her grammar. Mine may not be perfect, but come on, it’s public, make an effort!

8 comments on “I hate TripAdvisor”

  1. Hazel says:

    Hi Fiona
    Neil and I use Trip Advisor a lot (almost frightened to admit that to you now! Lol) but always always to give positive feedback.
    So much more helpful to know what went well so that you can do more of it I find….
    H x

  2. Trip advisor is extremely unfair. Reviewers should have to submit a receipt to at least establish that they were customers of the business they are commenting on.
    As for their certificates of exellent. I had 6 five blob reviews 3 years ago and am still being inundated by these said certificates. I told them we had clised and they said they didn’t think we had. ! I take not a jot of bad reviews unless they are backed up by many more.

  3. This year i got the worst TA review EVER, and i’ve been in this busines forever ………………. i got it the same day that i received an award from TA for ‘Excellence of Service’ — these people complained about the service they received. My view is this to these petty complainers – “Offended you are, Off you must fuck”

  4. Sincere apologies for typos

  5. Marc Reid says:

    I use trip advisor regularly. Normally for positive reviews. If negative then rest assured I’ve expressed those ponts in person at the time. Wasn’t aware you could leave a review in response to a review. Mwahahaha. My fingers are itchy already.

  6. Fiona says:

    The customer commented on the previous review. I wish you (!) could comment on the reviews!

  7. Dave Barrett says:

    We use Trip Advisor quite a lot but take many of the comments with a pinch of salt.
    I think the Green Welly is great by the way, the only time I wouldn’t use it is when a coach party has just arrived and I can’t be bothered to queue for 10 minutes for a coffee (just too impatient).
    Are you going to the KOFG Xmas lunce this year?
    If so, see you there.

  8. Fiona says:

    I am indeed going to the lunch! Look forward to catching up then!

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