They’ll sell you a card that certifies you write online reviews, and you can use that card to signal to service providers — hotels, restaurants, what have you — that you’re likely to write a review about them so they’d better treat you well.
Granted, that’s not how Newman, 35, would put it. He sees ReviewerCard as a way to enhance the relationship between amateur reviewers and the hotels or restaurants they visit.
“I’m going to review them anyway,” Newman said, “so why not let them know in advance? It’s not hurting anyone.”
…”It’s not a threat,” Newman insisted. “It’s a way to get the service you deserve.”
…Thus came his epiphany: “Why can’t waiters, hotel workers, concierges know that people are reviewers? If that French waiter had known at the beginning that I write a lot of reviews, he’d have treated me like Brad Pitt.”
To boost one’s chances of Pittness, ReviewerCard charges $100 for a black card that says, “ReviewerCard: I write reviews.” Flash your card, and the world’s your oyster.
I’m not sure exactly how that move would work, when do you throw down the card and how can you do it in a way that seems natural (and doesn’t make you come off like an absolute douche?).
And if you’re going to pull that, I’m not sure what value added a card is, especially since any given hotel or restaurant isn’t likely to know the third party certification element of ‘ReviewerCard’ which is to say why is it not a card you could have just created yourself? And why do you even need the card as opposed to just mentioning you’re going to review the establishment?
Perhaps it’s no less gauche than printing out your Klout score to access Cathay Pacific’s lounge in San Francisco (although the ‘how’ of that transaction is easier, since they were the ones telling you to do it).
Even the ‘How it Works’ page doesn’t really shed light on how to finesse the ‘pay me off because I’m a reviewer’ conversation. It’s more like an underpants gnome description — “Display Reviewrcard” … “Enjoy Premium Service” (Profit!).
A tip I’d swear I first heard from Frugal Travel Guy but that was also mentioned in the New York Times Frugal Traveler column last week (that I’ve never tried) is to wear a TripAdvisor baseball cap at checkin. At least that one is a little more subtle, there’s no need to throw it into conversation.
The author of the LA Times piece focuses the bulk of his moral outrage on the idea that the person using such a tactic is effectively blackmailing the establishment. But in most cases I imagine that a hotel or restaurant would want to know about the likelihood of a review and that this meaningfully affects their likelihood of handling service situations differently.
The real outrage I think is the bias in reviews. Presumably undisclosed, the reviewer doesn’t say “and I flashed my ‘ReviwerCard’ and they did _______.”
In other words, the ReviewerCard signals that the person using it can be bought. And what’s more, they can be bought cheap.
And of course the ReviwerCard can be bought. For $100. Really, then, it’s the card’s creator who wins….