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Recruiting hotel sleep testers triggers controversy

07-12-2010 15:47 BJT

At the end of last year, a travel search web site began to recruit of "hotel sleep testers." With the slogan of "without clocking in, earn a monthly salary of 10,000 yuan and enjoy hotels and travel," it was known as "the most comfortable job in history." Three outstanding candidates stood out from 7,000 competitors and became the first batch of "hotel sleep testers." Since April of this year, they secretly walked in different types of hotels nationwide to experience the facilities and services at these places as ordinary customers and at the same time, they posted comments with pictures on their blogs and  web sites. Their articles have attracted a large number of netizens and they have also been elected grass-roots experts in the hotel industry. On Monday evening, our reporter secretly visited a hotel in the East Second Ring Road following a "hotel sleep tester," uncovering the secrets of the "sleep testing work".

Zhang Yumo checks whether the pillow is soft and comfortable.
Zhang Yumo checks whether the pillow is soft and comfortable.

The hotel investigator's mission is to find faults

Zhang found this hotel, which is located on the East Second Ring Road, after she saw a netizen's question of "why is there not a lake view hotel in Beijing." As there is a large lake outside the hotel, she must try the hotel out and then reply to the netizen with her results on the lake view hotel.

Before the reporter arrived, Zhang had taken photos of the interior facilities in each standard room with the excuse that her friends are organizing a tour in Beijing. When the reporter entered, Zhang was walking back and forth in the room. "I must be barefoot to see how clean the floor is," she said. Holding up the camera, she walked while taking photos. Zhang mainly finds faults with whether or not the textile fabric in bathroom is knotted, whether the bathroom window is sealed, whether there are fingerprints left on water glasses and whether the fees for drinks and laundry are expensive.

"There is a small refrigerator in every guest room but I do not feel cool. The beverages are also bad and expensive, with a can of Sprite costing 20 yuan!" Before 12 p.m., Zhang had shot pictures of the hotel in detail and put them and her comments on her blog that very night, and then didn’t get to bed until after one in the morning. At noon the next day, she returned to continue working on the 2,000 word comment manuscript.

Original intention is to establish authority in the comment system

Dai Zheng, vice president of the travel search web site, said as the profession of "hotel sleep tester" sounds very fresh and new, and that the outside world will most likely misunderstand it. In fact however, it is because our company has wagered that comment sharing has become an irreversible consumption trend and we need to have some professional staff leading people in their spontaneous sharing of comments. Dai said that the first two batches of "hotel sleep testers" were selected after face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews and ultimately going through actual training by staying at real hotels. They include travel agency staff members, white-collar workers and backpackers, and therefore their comments are able to represent the interests of various groups.

Beginning in April of this year, they secretly walked into restaurants, cheap hotels and youth hotels nationwide to experience their software and hardware facilities and services as ordinary customers and at the same time, to post unique comments with pictures on her blog and the web sites. Their work has attracted a large number of netizens.


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