We Have A Community of Wedding Venue Support!
Let’s Use It To Take A Flawed Review System & Turn It Around!
I have had it up to my charcuterie board with stupid reviews and unfair hostility towards our small business owners in the wedding & event industry! Who ever started that rumor that the customer is always right, brought a plague of headaches, drama and entitlement to the hospitality industry. The customer is definitely NOT always right. Wedding and hospitality industry businesses experience a lot of abuse due to unreasonable expectations or unreasonable clients or worse, unreasonable relatives of clients. Of course there are legitimate bad reviews and sometimes that review does a lot of good enacting positive change – that is definitely not what I am talking about here. Reviews are supposed to be reasonable assessments of experiences clients have with a business. There are so many people who abuse this system and no one seems to offer or provide wedding venue owners a fair way to counter false & unfair reviews. While the majority of our clients are absolutely lovely to work with, some are using this system to threaten, bully and abuse our small business owners. Have you every experienced the following:
- Demanding requests that go outside of the venue policy or break the venue contract – “Ummm could you please repeat that, I thought you just said NO”. That will get you a bad review.
- Threatening a venue with a bad review to get their way.
- Damaging the wedding venue and then demanding their deposits back or ELSE!!
- Reckless unsafe behavior at a wedding that puts guests in danger and could result in venue damage, human casualties or the venues loss of revenue, or revocation of liquor license/business license, insurance, etc…
- The Wedding Guest did not like the wedding venue choices of the couple and gave a bad review. Wedding guests hear this, the couple selected the venue because it fit their budget, desired location, desired date, their style and their vision of the wedding, NOT YOURS!! You incredible ass. How dare you go to the venue reviews and publish bad reviews for things the couple chose and wanted. Many times you are bad reviewing a venue for things the venue does not even provide, like the catering! I have seen so many bad reviews for catering the couple chose and the guests bad review the venue, the venue responds informing the reviewer that they did not and do not provide catering and the reviewer just leaves up the 1 star bad review.
- Bad Weather Reviews – really?? Really?? Really? It’s hot, the couple chose an unairconditioned barn, or an outdoor ceremony, guess what? The couple could have chosen a banquet in the sky with icy cold ac and foot massages for guests during the reception, but they didn’t. “It rained and my shoes were muddy” – really!! Guess what happens when it rains and the couple still insists on an outside ceremony? Mud, that’s what happens and that is what the couple chose for you to experience as the guest, so go bad review the couple instead. OH that’s right, that platform doesn’t exist.
- Couples who are as sweet and they can be but then add their parents and in laws to the mix and all hell breaks loose. Couples – you know your family, you know the ones who are screaming, yelling, demanding jerks. Don’t apologize to us on their behalf after they abuse the venue owners, vendors or staff! NO, you are an accomplice because you brought them along to planning meetings or you allowed them to pay for something and didn’t set boundaries. You brought the drama into the mix and then stepped aside and watched in silence as they let loose their wrath, you are an accomplice and you deserve an acne break out on your big day!
- Weddings guests….oh wow! You piss &/or vomit in elevators and bushes. You bring your children and let them run wild and free damaging property. You treat the venue like it belongs to an ex who cheated on you and then have the audacity to bad review a venue when the management asks you to stop smoking weed in the bathroom or grab your drowning kid from the fountain! Oh the bad reviews I have seen about the venue managing 150 guests and getting hot flaming poo reviews for it. IF YOU BAD REVIEW A VENUE BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC, YOU DESERVE A FESTERING BOIL ON YOUR UNDERCARRIAGE!
- Bad review groups, this is when one person is offended or upset and it’s not enough to leave one bad review. They must group text their ride or dies and tell them to go and bad review the venue. These are hilarious and ignorant all rolled into one. You see the first bad review, then moments later the next 2, 3 or 3 that usually say, “my friend went to this venue and…” followed by a copy and paste of the first persons review.
- The “I never booked this venue” but I am still going to bad review them. These bad reviews are usually things like, “the venue is too expensive for my budget”. HOW DARE YOU!! If you can’t afford Red Lobster you go to the fast food fry place up the street. If you can’t afford a Louis Vuitton bag you buy Kate Spade, but you don’t bad review a business because you WANT their luxury item but can’t afford it. WTF!! If you do this to a small business owner I hope you spend your entire tax return on a Birkin Bag only to find out later is a knock off and you can’t get your money back because the car from whose trunk you purchased said bag has driven away.
- The random bad review that has no comments? Usually when I see this type of review the owner will respond with a, “deer so & so, I have never worked with you can you please let me know when you contacted our business & why the bad review”, to which there is never a response. This is infuriating because the online review systems, you know who they are, take our small business owners money for upgraded listings & advertising but don’t do a good job of removing fake reviews.
- The Bend OVER Backwards, demanding client, who once you have jumped through fire for and made all the exceptions they requested AND comped some of their costs just to show above and beyond excellent service, they still bad review you. I am exhausted at this point so let me just say…. you deserve a serious Karma kick in the crotch for this type of behavior. This is the type of client that will make a venue owner want to close up shop.
- The, “Yes, I know I broke our contract and according to the terms I owe you some additional fees, but if you even mention that to me, BAD REVIEW”. This falls under review extortion and it happens every day. Our review systems are set up to encourage review extortion and if they don’t have proper solutions then they shouldn’t be up and running. Fix your faulty review systems and protect the small business owners you charge to have those listings!
- Some will say, “well some of those reviews can be disputed and taken down.” OR “If a reviewer didn’t have a contract with the venue then the website will remove that review” — sometimes this is true, sometimes a review will get taken down but it is a lengthy process and only a few review sites will even get involved in a review dispute. On social media sites and search engine review platforms, you may never get a fake, false or misleading review removed.
- The passive aggressive review, this is the one star review that says, “loved this place” or “had a wonderful time” then the owner of the business responds to the reviewer, asking if they mistakenly gave one star and meant to give 5 and gets no response. I have also seen a ton of 2 and 3 star reviews that look like a rave review, then why 3 stars?? One venue I know in WV has had a 5 star rating for years. She kept a small portion of a deposit when a couple stayed way longer than an hour past the contracted end of the event. The groom gave a rave review with 3 stars. That lowered her average substantially. Deer groom, may you be blessed with traffic tickets, traffic court and sky high insurance increases in triple the amount of that small fee you were charged for keeping the venue and event staff at your event way past the contracted time.
- Finally, bad reviews due to Covid, I just found a venue that has 16 bad reviews in the last year due to Covid. For this issue alone we should gather as a community and go help some of these venue owners improve their review ratings
I don’t want to sound like I don’t love the wedding and event industry. I truly, truly do! Most of our wedding couples are absolutely wonderful to work with. Even our challenging clients are awesome to work with because it feels amazing when we overcome a challenge and work hard to exceed their expectations winning them over in the end. There a few horrible jerks who do abuse, threaten and bully our small business owners and after years of wishing there was a solution, I would like to take action.
What is my plan? I would like to gather a group of Venue Vigilantes who are willing to be called upon to offer 5 star reviews in BULK when a venue is being or has been targeted with bad reviews by unreasonable, vengeful clients. I propose we gather in numbers, go to that venues reviews and love them up with a landslide of 5 star reviews. I am sure some will say this is not an appropriate way to get reviews. To those people I say, the review system is flawed and currently set up to encourage false bad reviews, review extortion and bullying. I have no problem what so ever flipping the system and working as a wedding venue community to do our part to even things out. What would we base our reviews upon??? I am so glad you asked:
*****. Reviewing this venue for their thoughtful & calm responses to reviews.
*****Giving 5 stars because this venue is creating wedding industry jobs in their community, bringing hotel bookings and generating revenue in the community – way to go!!
*****Your website is lovely, it loads quickly, is easy to use and offers incredibly useful information.
*****Giving a 5 star review because your venue is gorgeous and I appreciate your social media marketing that increases interest in the local wedding industry!
*****Giving a 5 star review to this venue, my colleague, because I know how hard it is to do what you do every day & I hope when times are challenging this tiny little gesture brings a smile to your face and encourages you to continue provide joyous celebrations to your community!
If you would like to be a Venue Vigilante and support your fellow venue owners with 5 star reviews, email email@example.com.
Here is how this will work:
1. Email me with Venue Vigilante in the subject line.
2. I will add your email to a weekly email list.
3. Each week I will send a list of 5 wedding/event venues for our collective VV group. The list will be comprised of venues I have found through my research, venues who have asked for help and venues who participate in the VV 5 star review efforts.
4. Eventually, your venue will come up on the list and you will enjoy a landslide of 5 star love as well.
5. I will require that you participate each week to ensure that a fair effort is given to every venue participating.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Venue Vigilante in the subject line. Let’s take an oppressive negative and turn it into a positive together!