We recently had a review submitted to hostelcritic.com complaining of petty and childish treatment by a hostel manager.
A guest booked the Lyons House Hostel in Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada) through Hostelworld and after an enjoyable stay she posted this positive review on Hostelworld.
Afterwards, she recieved a rude email from Patrick, the manager of Lyons House, saying she wasn’t welcome at the hostel in the future because her rating wasn’t positive enough. Patrick’s rude and childish email said:
“Megan I am very disappointed by the scores you gave our hostel. The comments are nice and appreciated but the score is horrible. You’ve rated is a full 20 points lower than our average for the month of May. The ranking that you gave us is lower than the foulest puke smelling bed bug ridden hostels in Toronto and New York. Our guests have consistently rated us very highly and your score is completely off the mark in comparison. I would never suggest that a guest stay in a hostel rated as low as you have rated us. The character of a hostel has nothing to do with the outside of the hostel and everything to do with the quality of the experience inside it. We are consistently rated very high for character. What was wrong with security? You had your own apartment with a deadbolt as well as your locked room We live on site and have 24hour security staff, the front door is protected by a security system as well. I can only assume that you are comparing us to motels and hotels.
If you have an suggestions on how to improve our hostel I would be happy to hear them. But, please do not book with us again as your score has hurt our business and I cannot allow that. I suggest you try the other hostel in town or perhaps a cheap motel.
What sort of wacky thoughts could posibly have been running through Patrick’s mind to conjure up such as rude and childish response to someone who wrote a positive review of his hostel? Could you possibly imagine what a fit of rage he may erupt into if he actually got a negative review?
Megan gave his hostel a score in the mid 70s. I don’t see anything wrong with that is the sort of score; translated into a star rating, anything in the 70s would be regarded as four stars. Working as a professional reviewer, I reserve a rating of four stars or higher for the truly outstanding. When I researched BUG’s travel guidebook to Britain & Ireland several years ago, I visited virtually every hostel in the land and assessed an objective star rating for each place. In total only three hostels in England acheived a score this high.
Hostelworld’s rating is on a scale of 0 to 100 and anything above 50% should be regarded as above average. Well it would be if so many people weren’t so free in giving out abnormally high scores (above 90%). When people give such high scores without objectively assessing the standard of the hostel, then it creates a sense of entitlement among hostels who think that they deserve a rating that is way beyond the standards of their establishment. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post commenting about how percentage ratings on review sites seem to be skewed much higher than five-star ratings. A professional reviewer for a print publication would reserve the four and five star ratings for the truly exceptional, yet on some review sites anything below this is considered abnormal. So, come on guys; be fair and objective when you write reviews and don’t worry about giving out one or two star (or 10–20%) ratings. This helps your fellow travellers as they can see what a place is really like, and those truly outstanding hostels that earn a high rating get the credit that they deserve by standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Patrick doesn’t seem to realise that a high rating is something to be earned and some travellers have higher standards than others. His response was rash and came across as petty and childish and a guest who left the hostel with good memories, now has sour memories of his hostel.
In the past 12 years that I have been writing about hostels I have only come across this sort of behaviour a couple of times and each time I was shocked and disgusted that a hostel manager could act in such a petty and childish manner with such little regard for his guests.
According to most reports, Lyons House Hostel is a great hostel and it consistently gets good reports from travellers. Why would a hostel manager want to spoil his hostel’s good reputation by writing rude and petty emails to his guests after they have stayed at his hostel? Doesn’t he realise that upsetting one of his guests will result not only in losing her repeat business, but the business of her friends. And with the internet, one can have a lot of friends.
Grow up Patrick, show your guests some respect.