Is Marriott Blocking Reviews?

Do you read reviews of a hotel before you book your stay? Do the reviews have any influence on whether you book a specific hotel? Do you read reviews on various platforms (e.g. the hotel website, expedia, tripadvisor, etc.) to make a more “informed” decision?

Well, I stumbled across an interesting development and I’m curious to know what is happening behind the scenes…

“OFFICIAL” HOTEL REVIEWS

I admit, I don’t place too much value on hotel reviews or reviews for any product for that matter. Several years ago, there was evidence that employees and/or customers were incentivized to write positive (but fake) reviews which clearly skews the results and undermines credibility.

However, if there is overwhelming evidence that the hotel (or product) experience will be terrible, then I consider a different product.

It’s a complicated, confusing, and a thin line. I essentially just said, I don’t believe them but, then I believe them, yeah…I get it. It’s weird. But this weekend, I had a unique experience that does not make much sense and leads me to be even more skeptical about reviews.

I was researching hotels for a future trip. I stumbled across something that can only be explained using examples. So let’s just dig in…

Take a look at the reviews below for the JW Marriott Chicago. The most recent review for the hotel on Expedia is 6 October 2020.

On Trip Advisor, the most recent reviews for the hotel were 26 October, September and July 2020…

But interestingly, the most recent review on the Marriott website for the JW Marriott Chicago hotel is 21 March 2020.

IS MARRIOTT BLOCKING REVIEWS?

To be clear, the hotel is still operating and open to customers.

I recognize that customers review hotels on different websites. For example, a customer may book a stay through Expedia, receive an email invitation to review the hotel after their stay, and post it to Expedia. Clearly, this review would not appear on the Marriott website.

But is Marriott suggesting not ONE CUSTOMER has reviewed this hotel in the 7 months? Perhaps!

The only problem is the most recent review for The Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles is 8 March 2020…

The most recent review for The Moxy NYC Times Square is 20 March 2020…

And this trend continues through every property that I examined in the Marriott portfolio.

FINAL STAMP

Again, I don’t place too much value on hotel reviews.

To be clear, I stumbled across this detail because I was curious to see if anyone had reviewed their experience (positive or negative) about a hotels cleaning during the current pandemic. But I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Do you use reviews to determine which hotel you stay in? How much influence do reviews have on you? Do you think Marriott has “turned off” reviews for all of their hotels? If so, what would be the advantage/disadvantage to this strategy?

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