Promoted as the 'lifeblood of agrotourism,' by Dwight Schrute, the eccentric paper salesman played by Rainn Wilson on the award-winning NBC series, "The Office," Trip Advisor gets free publicity for a B&B that doesn't even exist -- to the tune of over 633 reviews (and counting). There's very few hotels in Manhattan that can garner that kind of attention.
Dating back to September 2007, Paul Liberstein who wrote the episode, "Money" for the show approached TripAdvisor and asked them if they could set up a review page as a tie-in to the storyline. Christine Petersen, the chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor couldn't turn down the offer, since the exposure by a major TV network was a publicity coup.
The fictional B&B resides in the actual town of Honesdale, Pennsylvania which is located in a rural area, northeast of Scranton where Schrute farms beets and can subsequently lay claim to being a 'hotbed' for ecotourism in his region. One of the TripAdvisor reviews is titled "Beets Beat Beaches."
However, like all TripAdvisor reviews, hoteliers have to take the 'good' with the 'bad.' In January, I posted "TripAdvisor & Social Media Expose Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels" where the review site annually selects ten of the dirtiest hotels in the world. And in Shrute Farms' case, while several guests have rated it 4 Stars, a reviewer from Virginia compared it to the Bates Motel in Pyscho.
NBC and Zazzle have perpetuated the myth of Schrute Farms with merchandise that I am sure a lot of "Office" fans are purchasing.
On NBC's Office Blog page, Dwight promotes his B&B as follows:
On this YouTube vid, Pam and Jim consider an overnight stay at Schrute Farms. With Dwight's description of his Irrigation Room, beet wine, manure fights and raucus late night entertainment, you can see why most TripAdvisor reviewers would rate this facility four star.
- "Your house can be more than just the spot where you rest your head or butcher your pigs - it can also be a vibrant moneymaker. The spare rooms at Schrute Farms have provided beautiful memories for excursionists, while bringing in gobs of additional cash for Mose and I. I also rent out my basement to a part-time dentist, which means even more money coming in, and free travel toothbrushes whenever I desire." (note: Mose is Dwight's eccentric cousin that helps him run the farm).
In a New York Times report, Mr. Lieberstein, who also plays Toby Flenderson, a human resources staff member, on the show, said that “The Office” might someday revisit the farm. TripAdvisor executives said they would love that. Ms. Petersen said. she is contemplating adding the Bates Motel (or as Pam likes to call it, the Beets Motel) and “The Shining’s” Overlook Hotel to its roster of most visited 'fictional' hotels. Here comes Johnnie!