A few weeks ago John wrote about IHG making it harder for guests to submit critical reviews of their properties even if these reviews might be accurate and we now have such a case once again.
The awful stay at the Candlewood LAX Hawthorne I briefly hinted on in a previous article wasn’t allowed to receive my critical online review on IHG’s website due to legally sensitive content.
My review even included pictures of the complaints I had about the property and the wording was rather objective without going into blind rage about certain aspects of this stay, yet it was flagged by (no doubt) the property.
Here is the email I received from IHG:
I have not the slightest idea why the email is in Chinese as my account doesn’t have anything to do with any location where Mandarin or Cantonese is spoken such as Taiwan or Hong Kong but nevertheless, here is what it says:
Your opinion is very important to us. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your stay at Candlewood Suites LAX Hawthorne. However, we regret to inform you that your comment fails to comply with our comment posting guidelines for the following reasons and cannot be posted on our website.
I’m not sure what is “legally questionable” lining out that health protocols aren’t adhered to (tolerating guests without their masks on in the property, not asking them to put them on), questionable illegal activity such as prostitution (common complaint about this property in online reviews) and an actual visit by the Police with several police cruisers in the middle of the night. It doesn’t get more precise and to the point than that.
Here is John’s article from earlier this month about the review guidelines IHG updated recently:
It seems IHG wants to give their properties a backdoor to get rid of critical reviews and have them deleted/rejected based on some technicality withing these new guidelines. Maybe they should put that effort into encouraging properties to keeping up brand standards.
I forwarded this email about the review to the Ambassador Desk to add to the open customer service file. Not that I expect that anyone will ever react to it.
These reviews on IHG’s website that take the customers some time and effort to submit are apparently just cherry picked and really bad cases where properties are hung out to dry by the customers are just expunged.
It’s better to just leave reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor, Google or Facebook. As always reviews should be honest, fact based and ideally supported with evidence such as pictures taken on site.
There is no point in leaving reviews on any branded websites, not only on IHG’s. Critical ones are not published because it would hurt the business of both the hotel and the IHG (those fees flowing from hotels that don’t meet the brand standards).