Why Negative Reviews of Hotel Properties SHOULD Be Posted

“T here’s an interesting thread on Flyertalk entitled ‘Do point bloggers ever stay at a bad hotel?’ The posts run the gamut, from questioning over-loyalty on bloggers’ parts to outright accusations that bloggers are on the books either from the hotels or from the banks who issue credit cards in the name of the hotel chains. I don’t doubt that there might be a basis for some of these statements, as well as for many of the responses in the Flyertalk thread.”

That paragraph is what starts off this article written by Kathy of Will Run For Miles. I too have been following that discussion on FlyerTalk, as I have a negative hotel review which I have yet to write. It was part of my unintentional trip around the world — no, I have not stopped posting articles about it; but trip reports are very time-consuming to compose and I will post them, so I appreciate your patience — and I was first waiting for a response from management from that hotel property before I posted anything.

I agree with mostly everything Kathy wrote in that article, as she “beat me to the punch” — so to speak.

Whenever I write a review of any part of my travels here at The Gate, it is similar to a public diary of sorts — I never kept a private diary, by the way — but equally important to me is that you find the review or trip report to be of value to you. Perhaps it will assist you in deciding whether or not you want to stay at a certain hotel property. Maybe you will find what I wrote entertaining. I attempt to ensure that the information posted in a review or trip report is as interesting as it is informative to you.

I have stayed as a guest at my share of great hotel properties; but I have also stayed as a guest in some bad hotel properties in the past. I remember the hotel room which had no heat in a northern suburb of Toronto in the middle of January. I cannot forget about the water bug in the room at a hotel property located north of Montgomery, Alabama which seemed to be about the size of a bus — only to be told that that was normal. One time I stayed in a presidential suite in an industrial town in Pennsylvania which was so dated and run down that I am not sure it was clean and new when George Washington was alive. There was the dump at which I stayed in Las Vegas years ago which made me feel like I was in the middle of a crime scene just waiting to happen.

Mostly everyone likes positive reviews of hotel properties. People who read them will most likely keep those hotel properties in mind when they plan on being in their vicinities. Hotel management certainly welcomes positive reviews, which could mean more business — which likely translates into more revenue, which hopefully becomes more profits.

Sure, negative reviews of hotel properties could alert readers to stay away from those places. More importantly — in my opinion — is that negative reviews are actually for the benefit of management of the hotel properties. If written well, the reviews can alert management to the shortcomings of the hotel property, from which they can turn the negatives into positives by improving aspects of the hotel property such as service, climate control, aesthetics, rates and costs, amenities, furnishings, and parking spaces…

…and if not written well, the reviews could seem similar to this discussion posted on FlyerTalk.

No one is perfect; and no company associated with travel is perfect either. Constructive criticism — which I absolutely invite from you pertaining to The Gate, by the way — is essential in helping the subject of that criticism to improve. If a person is willing to take the time to post positive or negative reviews instead of using that time on something else, then it should be appreciated. I have said it before multiple times — such as in this article — and I will say it again: Constructive feedback is a gift.

By the way, I receive no favors, incentives, amenities, or any other form of compensation or favoritism from any lodging company. I do not have an affiliate credit card and I do not post affiliate links here at The Gate. I am a “free agent” and can write about whatever I want. When I post a positive review, it is simply because I had a positive experience. When I post a negative review, it is for the reasons I mentioned before: to alert you; as well as to give management of what I experienced a chance to review their policies and procedures in order to improve them.

Whenever I think about posting a negative review, I first contact representatives of that hotel property — or the chain of which it is a part — privately to give them a chance to respond before I post anything publicly. What are the reasons why I had a bad experience? What are they going to do about it, if anything?

Once I receive the official response, I typically post an article about it accordingly. I have never used The Gate as leverage to attempt to get what I want out of a travel experience. I do not volunteer to employees of travel companies while I am in the midst of traveling that I write a weblog for BoardingArea.

I believe that you will find that whenever I write a review or a trip report, I generally attempt to remain balanced and keep an open mind about what I am reviewing — as well as give both positive and negative aspects of my experience. Do I succeed in those attempts? Only you can answer that question as the reader.

Most importantly of all to me — regardless of whether the review or trip report is positive, negative or mixed — is honesty. That is the main reason why you see my name and photograph on this weblog: because I stand behind what I write; and if I commit an error, I own up to it and take responsibility for it. I want to ensure that you can trust whatever you read here at The Gate — and that especially is applicable when it comes to reviews and trip reports…

…so Kathy — who concluded the article with “I am not sure where to end this, so I’ll stop here!” — please do not stop. If there is something if you left out of that article which prompted me to write this article, post it.

I will be reading…

6 thoughts on “Why Negative Reviews of Hotel Properties SHOULD Be Posted”

  1. Robert says:

    Brian,
    Exactly the reason I read and trust your thoughts, reviews and comments is because you don’t litter the article with CC links. Nothing wrong with some bloggers making money off the links, but it has gotten to the point of insanity with so many of the BA folks.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I agree with you, Robert — there is nothing wrong with “bloggers” benefitting financially from credit card affiliate links; but there is such a thing as too much.

      There is also the potential of having content skewed in favor of the affiliate who compensates the “blogger.”

      Thank you for your thoughts and for reading!

  2. Joey says:

    I agree with Robert.

    In addition, what makes or qualifies someone to be a hotel reviewer? What are the reviewer’s standards? It seems to me most of the BA bloggers review the aspirational parts of hotels (i.e. the corner suite, upgrades, breakfast amenities, etc.) versus the barebones of whether the hotel is clean and whether it’s in a safe location.
    Quite frankly, I travel to see place and rarely ever stay in 5 star properties, but I do have standards when I choose a hotel and those are: cleanliness and location (great to be in the center of town but more importantly is safety.)

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It is nice to stay in a five-star hotel once in a while; but a steady diet of them tends to spoil a person.

      I believe that whenever I post a review of a hotel property, Joey, I usually discuss cleanliness and location, as those are important to me as well.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I think negative reviews are just as important as good reviews. Some issues would be a deal breaker for me, old not as big an issue as unclean…

  4. Kitt Hughes says:

    I agree with you that constructive criticism is a gift. If I am having an issue, i clearly explain the problem. Then I tell management
    That this is The kind of information that businesses pay for when they ask for a secret shopper, for example. i have been trained to
    Clearly analyze, and that means without anger or Getting Rude about a situation. this skill translates to Many situations including travel. Sometimes business actually acknowledge and appreciate the opportunity to improve and Sometimes not. That tells
    A lot about a business.

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