Today we got a Reader Question about Marriott’s Verified Guest Reviews that have recently been re-activated after the chain took them offline during the vast part of the pandemic (likely to avoid bad reviews).
Customers with an email on file who have stayed at Marriott properties and receive an email after their stay have the ability to submit a rating and comments which will then be published on the hotels search result when pulled up via Marriott.com – or it won’t if it’s “moderated” away.
Last week I got an email from Brian:
I stayed at a Marriott family hotel in Miami on almost a weekly basis since February and encountered a lot of problems at the very same hotel. So far I’ve submitted 4 surveys with a short synopsis yet they were never published as a guest review. The hotel doesn’t have any bad reviews at all which leads me to believe they are deleting them, it’s impossible for a hotel that has so many quality issues to get only top reviews. Can hotels delete negative reviews? I did not use profanity or any graphic language in any way.
The short answer to that is YES, Marriott (whatever entity controls the submissions) does have the ability to moderate reviews and prevent them from being published but should only do so when a review has left the realm of the review guidelines.
You can find the Marriott website dealing with the parameters of the reviews here.
Keeping it real
From candid insights to tips and experiences, Marriott Verified Guest Reviews give you what you need to compare and choose a hotel that’s right for you, straight from guests who stayed in our hotels. So, take a look. Give it a try … and book feeling great about your decision.
Here are some parts of the FAQ that are relevant to the readers questions:
According to these FAQ the hotel “reviews guidelines screen for profanity, unintelligible information, and personally identifiable information, ensuring that content is not offensive or inappropriate” which is a rather broad definition.
In theory that means the property can cherry pick which reviews they publish (positive ones) and which they don’t (negative reviews, especially very negative ones). If the reader has indeed received an after stay survey and sent it out without any obvious violations then it should have been published. Why it hasn’t is anyone’s guess.
For obvious reasons hotels don’t like bad reviews and the cutbacks during the pandemic provided a blueprint for why customers would be likely to flood the review pages with complaints. Marriott therefore suspended its verified hotel reviews in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic back in February/March 2020. In late January of this year we have received a confirmation from the Marriott spokesperson that verified reviews have been reactivated.
In some cases hotels try to avoid that a guest gets an after stay survey at all when they know that there were problems during the stay. Sometimes they go as far and modify the email address so that any possible follow up survey would bounce. It’s possible that this is now tied to the Bonvoy account but in the past it has always been the email on file during the stay.
It’s pretty much impossible for a hotel to only have excellent reviews. Even a relatively perfect hotel will still have the occasional hiccup and meet a guest whose expectations were totally different and that will create an unusually bad review. Also guests who had a bad experience are much more likely to complain or send a bad review than those where everything went smooth.
If the reader has a legitimate complaint then I suggest to use Tripadvisor and also file a complaint with Marriott customer care, outlining the problems and also the situation that none of the reviews have posted to the hotels profile.