It is initially difficult to diagnose.
It starts when you buy a pub. You hit the ground running and then, bang, you hear something in the background, a strange look or a silence when walking pass a regular...TripAdvisoritis - not medically recognised as yet, but in time, I am sure it could be a cause of anxiousness, sleepless nights even OCD.
We get up in the morning and first thing we do is check TripAdvisor.
Before we go to work, look again, just in case some low-life has given us a bad review. Lunch service over - I’ll just check again. Before I go back, have a look, oh no, it’s got to be a rival pub, hasn’t it?
Go back downstairs back to work - it's midnight now - let’s have another read. Yes, definitely a rival, but who? 5.00am, wide awake, I’ll complain to TripAdvisor that it’s a rival, or was it that idiot last week?
Sound familiar? We have all been there, but then you read the press; TripAdvisor arrogantly denies damaging pubs and even send out certificates trying to pretend to be on the side of those that do the hard work.
I have - after much research - found a cure. It is initially very difficult, like stopping smoking or Dry January. All of these take an amazing amount of will power, but trust me, it will be beneficial to all of us in the long run.
Last September I started a social media course at East Riding College and gave up 12 weeks, two hours per week.
We all know that Facebook doesn’t charge for going online, so how does it make money? It has advertisements, every time we click on, they profit.
There are about 50,000 pubs in the UK, if they all click on TripAdvisor five times a day, seven days a week, that’s around 52 million clicks a year.
Stop it! The revenue we are generating for TripAdvisor is keeping them in a healthy profit. If we stop though, they listen.
Essentially TripAdvisor should be a good thing. We used to say that if a place is no good, people will stop going, now it’s easy for competitors to “stitch up” the competition, but in my experience it rarely happens.
Make a new year’s resolution: When TripAdvisor emails you when a review is posted, check it out, copy and paste to a Word file, read it at your leisure then, on a day that you wish, check again and respond. The less you click, the more they will listen.
Happy New Year to all.
Ray Thompson is owner of the Wrygarth Inn, Great Hatfield, Hull.