Subscription database helps UK hotels avoid bad guests

UNITED KINGDOM User-generated reviews are not simply for advising other guests about hotels anymore. Now, thanks to technology from UK-based Guestscan Ltd., hoteliers are telling other hoteliers about the guests themselves.

For £48 per year, hoteliers in the UK can tap into Guestscan’s database of unruly and nonpaying guests. The database can interface with a hotel’s booking system, automatically alerting the hotel if a would-be guest has a record of troublemaking elsewhere. “Forever, the guest has had free range in your hotel, does something wrong and disappears, and then does it again somewhere else,” says Guestscan Director Neil Campbell. “Hoteliers, particularly the smaller hoteliers, felt that they didn’t have any protection at all.”

The database is built by member hoteliers, pending a verification process by Guestscan that includes gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Offenses that can get a guest blacklisted for two to four years include nonpayment, property damage, abusive behavior, theft and fraud.

The service launched in September, and Guestscan expects to have more than 10,000 hotels of all sizes and classes participating by the end of 2010. Guestscan is only available to UK hotels, but the company is researching data protection laws in other jurisdictions for potential rollout in continental Europe and North America.