Rating Site Lawsuit

It will be interesting what effect, if any, a lawsuit filed by a hotel against a couple that posted an allegedly false bedbug complaint on TripAdvisor.com will have on other rating sites.  From the piece:

A hotel in suburban Oak Park, Ill., has sued a Massachusetts couple, claiming they made a false bedbug claim on Tripadvisor.com.

The suit claims Michael Gladstone and Liora Braun posted a review saying they found a bedbug on the third and final night of their April stay at the Carleton, but when they complained, the hotel did not take it seriously. Now they are facing claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, and tortious interference with business.Oakpark.com has the story.

A maintenance crew checked the room after the couple complained, but no problem was found, the lawsuit says. Michael Gladstone contacted the hotel manager to complain a second time, spurring the hotel to hire a pest control company. “Not a single bedbug, dead or alive, was observed,” according to the inspection report attached to the lawsuit.

Daily Deals for Apartments?

From NAA’s excellent APTly Spoken blog comes this interesting post about the potential use of  “daily deal” sites (think Groupon) by apartment communities.  Here’s an excerpt:

As Paul Bergeron reported in the article, “Crowds Flock to Online Deals!” in the June issue of units, the concept excited attendees at the 2011 AIM Conference in May who were looking for new and creative ways to attract prospective residents and gain market advantage. Attendees who may have purchased discounted kitty litter on a whim the week prior.

Greg Mazanec, LivingSocial Senior Director, Inside Sales, suggested that apartment owners or their communities consider sponsoring deals, such as attaching the phrase, “Brought to you by Rolling Hills Apartments” to a social commerce offer of $40 worth of dining at a nearby restaurant.

Apartment owners or communities also could try to provide a sense of value for renting at their community by making a deal exclusive only to their current, new or prospective residents, Mazanec said. Perhaps an offer to pay $50 for $100 worth of sclerotherapy will be included in my next resident e-newsletter.

Pew Releases Results of Social Media Survey

The Pew Research Center released a study called “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives.”  You can read the full thing here if you have a few hours of spare time, or you can read this short article that conveniently provides the highlights.  Here’s an interesting paragraph from the article:

It’s not surprising that more social network users are on Facebook — 92 percent — but some of the stats for other services are surprising. For example, there are more social networkers on LinkedIn than Twitter, 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively. But Twitter users, like Facebookers, are more engaged, with 52 percent and 33 percent, respectively, using the services daily. By comparison, only 6 percent of LinkedIn users go there daily. The finding is interesting for the timing. LinkedIn had a huge public offering last month, while Facebook is preparing its IPO. Pew described Facebook as the “nearly universal social networking site,” while “MySpace and LinkedIn are occasional destinations.”

Rent an Apartment and Share a Car

From the June 15, 2011 Wall Street Journal:

Equity Residential, the country’s largest residential real-estate investment trust, hopes its latest perk for its apartment tenants will drive traffic to its doors.

The company struck a deal with Zipcar Inc. to add car-rental services to more of its apartment communities in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

By the end of the summer, more than 100 Zipcars are slated to be parked in Equity Residential communities, giving more than 17,000 residents access to the vehicles, the company says. A small number of the company’s properties already had arrangements with Zipcar, but the program is being expanded and formalized.

Tenants receive discounts on Zipcar’s membership fees and on hourly rates. Neighbors of Equity Residential apartment complexes can also rent the cars.