The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York threatened to fine wedding parties $500 for online reviews that were negative, according to CNN and the New York Post.
On Monday, hundreds of people used Yelp.com to write bad reviews of the getaway and complain about the policy. At one point, there were some 700 negative reviews on Yelp. The company decided to delete many of them because they did not reflect the place honestly.
“Trying to prevent your customers from talking about their experiences is bad policy and, in this case, likely unenforceable anyway,” Yelp said.
The policy, found on the hotel’s website, said, “there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event.”
“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not,” the website states. “This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer — therefore we expect you to explain that to them. USGH & Hudson are historic. The buildings here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic ‘vintage’ way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines. (although comfortable and functional — obviously all beds are brand new.) If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here.”
The hotel would not comment on the fines, but did post an explanation on its Facebook page. The explanation stated the following:
“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.”