I recently asked "What Happened to the Hotel Reviews?" and received a factual answer. Yet the discussion that developed once the facts of the matter were explained has led to a worthy, new discussion: Is it a good thing that the Hotel Reviews have been removed from Insiders and changed by Marriott in the way that it has been changed?
The communitymanagers posted a notice regarding the change, part of which reads as follows:
"When you receive a Guest Satisfaction Survey after you have completed a stay you will now have the opportunity to include a full review. Some of you may have seen these surveys already. The review will then be posted word for word on Marriott.com and will also be routed to the hotel’s General Manager. As most of you probably know, you won’t get a Guest Satisfaction Survey after every stay (we don’t want to bombard you with surveys!).
Once you submit the review and it goes through moderation it will be posted on the hotel’s individual website on Marriott.com within 72 hours."
Questions that have already been raised include the issue whether it is possible to submit a review without having received a Guest Satisfaction Survey, which will not occur "after every stay". If hotel reviews cannot be submitted at the initiative of the reviewer -- who has had the hotel experience -- but only at the initiative of the hotel or of Marriott -- there seem to me to be two substantive defects. 1) There is the possibility (or, at least the appearance of the possibility) of manipulating who is asked to submit a review, or who is prevented from submitting a review; 2) Marriott removes the ability for someone to spontaneously submit a very authentic review when that person has experienced exceptional service or had an exceptional hotel experience -- or has suffered from terrible service or has had a very negative experience. In addition, it is not clear what will be the outcome from the moderation of bad reviews (that are authentic). It may be that the intention is to publish all authentic reviews, good or bad, but, at least to some who responded to the original thread, the overall change does not seem to have left a positive impression or to embody the advantages of the hotel review framework that has been so successful in MR Insiders.
I think that this issue is worthy of discussion and I hope that Marriott will listen to the responses, whatever they may be -- and, if the responses merit a reconsideration of the change, that Hotel Reviews in their old format be returned to the Insider,revie even if a separate system is used in the marriott.com website.