Ever heard of Vitaly from YouTube? He has made big money producing pranks and funny videos, not everyone finds them to be in good taste, but I digress.
With 9.4 million subscribers and nearly 1.5 billion video views, you might say he is a YouTube star (he certainly would agree). His nearly 10 million subscribers are called ‘Villans’.
On New Year’s Eve 2017, Vitaly checked into the Boca Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property in South Florida requiring 80k Hilton points for a free night.
He was accompanied by his girlfriend upon arrival. Vitaly states he did not bring any professional video equipment and that he was truly there to relax before heading out for a long night.
I’ll let the video explain the rest of the encounter (language warning)
1.6 Stars on Yelp and Google
As you heard, Vitaly urged his Villans to call insistently and leave bad reviews. I’ll admit, I thought there would be a couple of people who’d follow through, I was so wrong.
It worked, Vitaly called upon his followers and now 85% of the resort’s reviews on Google are one star. I can’t imagine this is good for business.
I don’t think the hotel was in the right for two reasons, assuming a few key details check out.
1. If Vitaly had already checked-in and was not causing a disturbance or bothering guests, he should not have been ejected.
2. If Vitaly did not use false information to book the room and was granted a room key, he should have been allowed to stay assuming he is not unruly.
The hotel has the moral and legal right to not allow him to check-in knowing that he is a huge prank-artist in the Miami area. They have every right to turn away business at the check-in desk. They hold the legal right to kick him out upon their own discretion, as witnessed in the video, doesn’t make it right by his followers, clearly.
Once a guest has been allowed to check-in, he or she should not be asked to leave unless they are being a nuisance. This is why I took such issue with United when they pulled the Doctor down the aisle. Hotels and Airlines need to figure out who is welcome prior to someone taking up residence or taking their seat. If you don’t have room or don’t want someone on your property, figure that out earlier.
Once you’ve entered your room or taken your seat, assuming truthful information was used at booking, you should not be asked to leave unless you break policies or pose a threat. I imagine it is extremely embarrassing to be told to leave your airplane seat or vacate your room when no rules have been broken. There should be clearly defined consumer protections so we know where it is legal to be ejected once you’ve started to consume the services you paid for.