I have been a Trip Advisor lurker for a long time. I’ve visited all 50 states and 60+ countries - mainly a benefit of my job in the military. Between work and family travel, I often spend 200+ days a year on the road, and religiously use TripAdvisor to find places to stay and things to do. In all that time, I never posted a single review, negative or positive, and often regret not sharing those experiences with those that have offered me such great advice here.
With that in mind, how bad does a hotel have to be to make me create an account and have my first review be a negative one? Well, just chat with Don Skopec from the Days Inn in Rice Lake WI, and you’ll quickly find out.
I’ve read every review about this hotel. The negatives focus on the poor managerial style of Mr Skopec (as well as the usual complaints of filth, etc). They are varied and believable. The positives, however, contain such gushing levels of adulation that one wonders if they were put there by the staff to counter criticism. Frankly, a look through the consistent use of the same clipart and style of username on the “excellent” reviews, as well as the glowing, perfect (and often using the same buzzwords ) references to the staff would understandably make one suspect. They also seem to come in direct response after a negative posting. How many reviews do you read on TripAdvisor that glorify the staff/owner and frequently mention how nice they were to other terrible guest? If the “excellent” reviews here don’t strike you as strange, pick a hotel you know in your hometown and compare
While I understand the staff of TripAdvisor watches for this abuse, they can’t always prevent efforts to offset poor ratings – such as listing this hotel as a “B&B” so it can be rated #1 (of 1!) . The only thing these reviews need more than another IP address is a thesaurus.
My complaint with the Days Inn? Simple: My wife and I made a reservation on their website a month prior using a “military rate”, a courtesy afforded by my service. A week prior to that stay, we received email notification thanking us for our cancellation – obviously, we did not do this. After calling the clerk and corporate, we were able to determine that Mr Skopec was logged into the computer at the desk when this reservation was cancelled by the hotel. We’d like to be considerate of all involved here –after talking to multiple individuals we began to get the distinct impression that perhaps this may have been done to accommodate someone willing to pay a higher rate. Regardless, when we finally reached Mr Skopec (who is every bit as discourteous as the other reviews state) he denied cancelling the reservation and predictably accused us of doing it. When we mentioned he was logged into the computer it was cancelled from, he hung up.
I have been fortunate enough to serve my nation for 23 years, and in direct combat under enemy fire. I am continuously honored by the thanks I receive from total strangers, and greatly appreciate the generosity of businesses that show their support by offering me a discount. It would be easy and inaccurate to attack Mr Skopec as “not supporting the troops”. Undoubtedly, this charge would result in him rolling out a roster of immediate and extended family members who have or are serving honorably. However, their honorable service doesn’t mean Mr Skopec is above maximizing profit at the cost of personal integrity.
Though I am now scrambling to find accommodations in a “sold out” town, Mr Skopec has shown me this is the last place I want to rest my head – ironic coming from a guy who has awoken more than once to the sound of incoming fire.
On a positive note, I owe a lot of wonderful reviews to a lot of wonderful hotels, a shortcoming I can now remedy. I’ve also learned to read any TripAdvisor review with a more critical eye.
If this is how this guy runs his business, how will he treat you?
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