This is a blog post we would rather be without
It’s about a Tripadvisor review we got a couple of days ago. Not the worst review we have gotten in our 5 years, but – without comparison – the saddest.
We knew it would come – the guest tried to use her reviewing on Tripadvisor to threaten us. But we hoped that she would forget about the review and her stay with us – for her own sake.
We usually don’t reply to guests reviews – but due to the incident that occured during her stay we feel we have to comment.
The reply we REALLY WANTED TO WRITE is not possible to post on Tripadvisor
Among other things they don’t accept foul language which made it impossible for us to write the guest’s comments and outbursts.
The guest reviewed Tings according to Tripadvisor’s regulations. No problem with that – we replyed to her comments below.
The problem with the review is what she doesn’t write. That she was in a condition where she couldn’t control herself (which probably was why she knocked over the water suspender, broke the pipes in our bathroom and crashed the glass door to our office). That we not only offered to get her to another hotel – we also wanted to pay for it. That she already had stayed one night at Tings and accordingly had had a day to move away from our horrible place.
But the worst thing is, that she doesn’t mention that she got so aggressive that the staff on duty had to call Dorje (our manager and business partner). And even worse – that her aggression turned into violence – she started beating Dorje so she had to call the police.
The police had to come twice during the night, before she finally relaxed.
The following day one of the guests who witnessed the incident (all guests at Tings as well as all neighbours we awakened by the screaming) called the Australian Embassy and told what had happened. The embassy immediately called Dorje and offered support.
Guests can not only write whatever they want on tripadvisor – they can do it anonymously
Whereas we as hotel owners have to stand up and face everything with our names, guests can post whatever they want anonymously.
As we were travelling in Europe we didn’t meet the guest – so as we witnessed the incident at Tings via messenger, viber and skype while it happened, we got a surprise when we realized that the guest who was causing a scene wasn’t a hooligan or a dopehead. The positive thing in this particular situation is that the guest has chosen not to be anonymous – by googleing her TripAdvisor portrait we realized that Zappagirl is Michelle who is MD in her own consulting company with 25 years experience in working with women.
Tripadvisor is a one-way media where the guests review becomes the truth. and iN this case a platform to get rid of one’s bad conscience
It is almost impossible for us hotel owners to do anything about reviews that are either wrong OR fake (we have reviews from guests that never stayed with us LOL, and sometimes are not even able to reply as we have to reply in the language the reviewer uses, and even though we understand quite a lot of languages, we are not able to reply in writing).
And sometimes we have situations where a review is either so far from reality as possible OR where the circumstances around the reviewer’s stay is so special that we would like to add media to document our view – OR give other guests the possibility to add their view in a comment. That is NOT possible on TripAdvisor.
Most hotel owner’s are worried about negative reviews. We would lie if we said that we don’t mind negative reviews. WE DO – but as we have very strong opinions about what we want to do, AND we don’t want to make a place for everybody, we expect some bad reviews.
But what we DON’T & WON’T accept are guests or anybody who treats our staff badly. They are not only super talented – they are the best human beings we know.
Guests stay with us on their own free will – and we love them all. If you don’t like our place we not only suggest you to move… we don’t mind helping you. And in special occasions – like this where we wanted to avoid other guests to be disturbed – we don’t mind paying a night at an other hotel just to get guests away from Tings, so our other guests can have a quiet stay.
AND VIOLENCE IS NOT ONLY UNACCEPTABLE – People who tend to use violence should seek help.
OUR REPLY TO MICHELLE’S REVIEW LIKE WE WANTED IT TO BE:
Dear Michelle – This is without comparison the saddest review we have ever got!
Not because you don’t like Tings – different people like different places – and we are happy to get relevant feedback in order to be able to improve and explain what Tings is about. This is sad because of the terrible situation behind it – terrible for you, for the other guest and neighbors who were unduly disturbed by your behavior, for our staff and worst for our manager and partner, who were beaten for the first time in her life, by you.
We (Annette and Thomas) were not at Tings while these things happened. We were travelling from Copenhagen to Lisbon – when in Madrid we got the first calls and live chat messages during the incident – from guests staying at Tings and from our staff. And afterwards from reports from neighbors, guests, staff and the police – all telling the same story, we know that this was the worst nightmare in the 5 years Tings has existed.
When we returned to Kathmandu our intention was to file a case with the police. But as we felt that your personal problems must big enough already (the empty bottles alone can’t have caused the behavior) we didn’t want to make things worse. Instead we tried to put the nightmare behind us – and discuss with our staff what to do should a similar situation occur, which we certainly hope it never will.
But your review compels us to reply.
So let’s try to refresh the night by listing the ‘events’ according to the reports we have received from our guests, our staff, neighbors & police and by our live chat from Madrid and Lisbon while things were happening.
WE WERE RETURNING TO LISBON FROM COPENHAGEN AND RECEIVED THE FIRST MAILS/MESSAGES WHEN WE STOPPED OVER IN MADRID. FROM THEN ON WE WERE IN TOUCH WITH KATHMANDU UNTIL THINGS CALMED DOWN.
THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION GIVES AN IDEA ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED (ENLARGE THE PRESENTATION BELOW TO READ).
It was not because of the broken things that we decided to call the police, but because your condition – screaming, beating and pushing our manager – frightened the staff and disturbed our guest. Another turn of slapping followed later on – in front of and at the police as well.
When you broke the glass door to the office, it was our guests that urged us to call the police a second time. In between you were alternately appraising the place, the service and the staff, and crying and screaming that the room and service was SHIT, that it was extremely BAD service that the bathroom floor was wet (which it was – due to the fitting you had broken) – and then denied what you had said and done the moment before.
Furthermore you threatened us with bad Tripadvisor reviews if we didn’t dry the floor immediately (the plumber came in the middle of the night to fix the broken fitting and ensure water in the building again, and we dried the floor immediately after).
Already at your first complain we offered to help to you to another hotel and pay for the night. Our offer was repeated several times by us and by the police as well, with no luck. All the guests in the hotel were woken up by your screaming in the middle of the night.
Even though you were beating at Dorje in front of the police, they could not take you in detention as they couldn’t get hold of the Australian Embassy in the middle of the night.
But the incident was reported to the Australian Embassy the next morning, by some guests who were shocked by your behaviour and felt that you needed some kind of help.
The Australian Embassy called us back and gave their full support.
“I wish I slapped her yesterday, but were afraid she would get even more crazy”
A comment from a guest the next morning
At check-out the next morning we found it fair to bill you for the broken window and nightly plumbing support.
We didn’t charge you for the damage you had done to all our guests, destroying their night sleeps.
This was certainly an experience, one of the kind that you would hope never to happen again.
We don’t want to make Tings a place for everyone. We created Tings for travellers like ourselves – Business People who prefer to stay in more relaxed Hotels or Guests Houses than the usual international Business Multiple Star hotels. A place where the free individual traveler can relax after a hard day’s work or a long day of sightseeing.
We have a lounge where people can stretch their legs and enjoy a snack or a light meal. We have an opinion about what we do and what we don’t do – like we DO NOT serve alcohol in bottles and we do NOT serve for drunk guests.
We don’t want television because most guests staying with us enjoy each other’s company.
Most important – we love our guests and treat them accordingly – also guests who hates us.
As a rule of thumb – we suggest guests that don’t like Tings to move to another place – and to avoid guests starts to disturb our other guests – we don’t mind paying for the first night somewhere else.
We know that some travellers call Tings a Boutique Hotel. We are NOT. Tings is a relaxed and casual Lounge Hotel which we write on our site, on the reservations, everywhere that you shouldn’t expect TV, fridge or aircon in your room. THIS IS SOMETHING WE MENTION IN ALL OUR MAILS – including the confirmation you got.
Tings is a brick house, no concrete anywhere.
Freezing cold room: Well, normally Tings is the warmest place in town. But due to the blockade from India and the shortage of all fuels, we – like everybody else in Nepal – have not been able to provide gas for the heaters, unless you buy in black marked, which we do not support. Instead we provide extra down duvets and hot water bags (brought to the beds between 7 and 8) – and we have a wooden fireplace in the guest lounge on the top.
In the top guest lounge we have a guest kitchen with a fridge and cooking facilities – when gas is available – and a big sign telling to ask for support in the main kitchen for everything you might need (during the blockade we have been cooking on firewood at the backside of the house).
The Queen size bed is 5’ (152 cm), and has a double (down) duvet – and during the gas shortage – an extra single duvet across the bed, and more can be provided if asked for. The bed has 3 mattresses: at the bottom a heavy cotton, a foam mattress, and a thin cotton mattress on top. It is not soft, but firm and flexible.
The curtains are double layer – made of old sarees with a under curtain – and not possible to see through.
We clean the rooms everyday – unless our guests ask us not to clean. We ask our guests to leave the key in reception for ease of cleaning, but as some guests prefer to take the key with them, and some forget to leave it, we have extra keys to ensure clean rooms for everybody everyday. Housekeeping does not know which guest is in which room, only which rooms to clean, and they always knock on the door before entering to ensure the room is free for cleaning.
The soap in the bath rooms are made by Tings – and from the best organic and ayurvedic ingredients available. As you may know waste is a huge International problem, so to reduce waste from our side we have made the soaps in day-sizes. Guests can ask for more…
Regarding Breakfast. Our breakfast might not be the best in Kathmandu. BUT we guarantee that that the items we serve are the best available!!! The bread we bake ourselves every morning from the best flour you can get, the fruit salad is made from the season’s fruit and fresh sprinkled with fresh mint leaves, the curd is not only the best in town – WE DRAIN it for several hours to get is as creamy as we like it, the cheese is matured month before we serve it (it has taken us a year to find the diary), the musli is as organic as possible, the jams are the best we can get on the local organic market, the coffee in instant and Nescafe. We serve 2 eggs – soft or hard boiled, all kinds of omelets, scrambled, poached – as our guests want them. We can’t serve fresh orange juice because the oranges are not good enough (that would have been a cheaper solution). Most important – the breakfast is plenty and served all day. And if people leave early we make a breakfast bag.
What we don’t understand is:
- How can an experienced and mature traveler like you with multiple reviews on Tripadvisor end up causing so much trouble in a small place like Tings?
When you hate the place so much, why didn’t you leave after the first night?
Or why didn’t you accept the our offer of paying for another hotel?
- How is it possible for an experience Managing Director and woman – working for an international consultancy organisation focusing on Women’s development – to demean yourself to use violence ? How can a mature person like you raised in a civilised society even think of beating a young woman like our manager? She has never been beaten before and was more than shaken !
- Are you aware of your own state? Again – we we’re not present when the incident happened, but the account from our guests & staff said during the night and the following days are all the same – about a grown up woman, extremely drunk (and/or on other substanzes), acting very violently and aggressively towards our staff and especially towards Dorje – and behaving very badly (and stupid) against the police.
- Do you seriously believe that your threats about bad reviews on Tripadvisor frightens us?
- We know that we’re not perfect – we know that we make mistakes and do it all the time. Before Tings none of us had any experience in running a hotel. So we consider mistakes as parts of both our’s and our staffs education. So at our next staff meeting we will go through your review and discuss all your ‘issues’.
- What do you recommend us to do if a similar situation happens (God forbid it?). We try to tell our guests about Tings before they book (on our blog and in our mails). When we get complains we try to make things better. When we feel that guests will have a better stay in another hotel, we suggest them to move. When we feel a guests will cause troubles we offer to pay for the first night.
What else can we do?
Finally. We love good reviews – and the bad ones we get, we use to improve ourselves. BUT we DON’T care about guests that use bad reviews on Tripadvisor as a threats.
Again – we’re very sad to write these words. We really thought your troubles we’re big enough already and wanted to put it behind us. We seriously feel you need help.
To travellers on the way to Kathmandu.
The positive thing about this review is that you get a chance to see what kind of place we don’t want Tings to be.
To our beloved staff.
Sorry for this situation – but remember. Most people are nice 🙂
Love to all
Thomas & Annette