Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, takes its reviews very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it fines wedding parties $500 for every bad review its guests leave on websites like Yelp.
‘Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,’ reads an online policy. ‘If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.’
If you take down the nasty review, you’ll get your money back.
The site appears to have been changed since the Post's article—the “reviews" policy now has no mention of a fine. The hotel told Boston.com: “The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”
But user “Rabih Z.” posted on November 2013 that the hotel emailed him twice after he posted a bad review on Yelp and said the wedding party would be charged $500 out of its deposit. The hotel denied to Boston.com that it sent those emails.
The Post noted that the hotel has responded quite strongly to negative Yelp reviews in the past, claiming that reviewers “made all of this up” or claiming the review was “mean-spirited nonsense.”
Whoever’s job it is at the hotel to respond to those reviews will have his or her hands full for quite some time: since the Post article went up, hundreds of one-star reviews have been posted to the hotel’s Yelp page. Its Trip Advisor page, so far, appears not to have been affected by the scandal—though several reviews posted months and years before the Post article noted that its management had a distinct attitude problem.