Remember when I said how happy I was about having ten great Trip Adviser reviews? Recently that went up to twelve great reviews and I was feeling very chuffed and pleased that people were so happy with my Sevilla Tapas Tours. But the thirteenth review proved to be very unlucky and left me feeling upset for several reasons.
I know that all Trip Advisor reviews need to be taken with a huge grain of salt and that they often don’t reflect reality. I mean, for ages now the third best restaurant in Sevilla on Trip Advisor has been – are you ready? – A Slice of New York Pizza! Which isn’t even a restaurant but a tiny take-away joint next to the Cathrdral. Considering we have two Michelin star restaurants here in Sevilla I’m guessing they are probably serving up slightly better grub than pizza slices.
But I digress. The bad review that came in yesterday was from someone who had taken a tapas tour with Peter one night when I was already booked with a group of six people. I was clear about this before she booked, and she was fine about doing the tour with someone else. On the night of the tour I actually got to meet the two women for a few minutes as we coincided at the same tapas bar, and when I asked how their evening had been they told me they’d had a good time. But then they wrote this very negative review which complained about Peter being boring, about having to make all the conversation themselves, not learning much about the city … AND … that “the majority of the tapas that we tasted were not very tasty”. WTF?
Trust me, I have taken Peter to task about this particular tour and, as a result of this bad review, he probably won’t be doing any more tapas tours for me. Which is a shame because it means I will now have to start turning people down when I’m either double booked or unavailable.
On the one hand I do know that some people cannot be satisfied, and in this case one thing I find it very suspicious is that the only food these people liked were two very non-Spanish dishes: Argentinian beef and chocolate cake. I also know exactly where they went and what they ate because those had been my personal choices for them. And so if they didn’t think that food was “tasty” then I don’t know what they would have liked. On the other hand, Peter is much more laid back than me and, if they were also passive types, perhaps they felt they hadn’t been entertained enough. It almost sounds like my twelve fabby reviews made them feel like they’d missed out on something, but perhaps they also wouldn’t have found me entertaining enough. I don’t know.
A friend of mine who has a very popular restaurant here said to me “welcome to the club” when I told him about my first bad review. But you see, it’s different for him. He clearly runs a thriving business with several staff members so there are many different ways a customer might be “disappointed”. But with my personal tours, well, it’s personal. I’m not some big company with lots of employees and a big profit margin. As you all know, it started off with just me trying out something new after going through all the cancer stuff. But then when I had that emergency operation last year, Peter stepped in and did the tours I already had booked while I was recovering. Later on he started doing some tours that came in when I was already booked, out of town, or otherwise unavailable. I thought this was a great thing and hadn’t received any negative feedback about Peter until now. Already, just a day later, I’m getting emails asking me to confirm that I will be the guide.
What I don’t understand is why these two women didn’t just write me an email after their “disappointing tour” so that I could deal with this privately. Surely they must have realised this is just a small personal project, not some big company trying to rip them off with bad or indifferent service. Instead they wrote this awful very public review, which not only damaged my reputation (which is kind of all I’ve got) but also cost someone their part-time job. Frankly, I’m very disappointed in them. Why tell me to my face they had enjoyed their evening and then publicly back-stab me like this? Not nice.