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A Holiday Inn attempts bribery to gain positive reviews

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We have probably all seen signs in hotels and restaurants we have visited asking if we would be kind enough to recommend them on TripAdvisor or similar sites if we enjoyed our visit.

One Head for Points reader recently found that a Holiday Inn in San Francisco was stooping to outright bribery in order to get positive feedback on internal IHG surveys:


Yes, you got 1000 IHG Rewards Club points for scoring the hotel 10 out of 10.  That is a bribe of £4 – £5.

I know from conversations with IHG staff that the company takes the questionnaire scores very seriously – I’m not sure how seriously it takes attempts to game the system.

What is slightly concerning is that the leaflet implies that the hotel is told the score you give it (how else could they award the 1000 points?).  You may think you are making a confidential submission to Head Office but that is clearly not the case.

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Comments (50)

  • JamesWag says:

    That is an absolute disgrace.

  • Bob says:

    Different, and not bribery – a hotel indigo we stayed at in Berlin had a good idea which I havent seen elsewhere – they gave a voucher for bar credit if you skipped having your room cleaned one day. Most hotels hope you’ll put out the sign to skip housekeeping but this was a good little incentive which wouldn’t have cost them much to provide.

    • tony says:


      I’m going to guess that the cost of servicing a room at an indigo is in the region of £30. About 20% of that will be wages. You’re getting a £5 beer out of it.

      The hotel saves £30 and some poor chambermaid who is probably working two jobs just to get by is suddenly 1hr down in terms of work.

      Great for the shareholders, until you get the disenfranchised underclass hitting back like we saw last week.

      • Bob says:

        That’s a good point – my own experiences have only been of housekeepers looking pleased/relieved when told they skip doing our room, I didn’t realise they would prefer people to leave them messy and time consuming.

      • Bob says:

        Also, tony, as you’re so astute about these things – how much you leave housekeepers as a tip? Do you do the $1/day, the $1/guest/day, or more?

        • tony says:

          I don’t tip them. They are paid by the hotel for performing that service. In much the same way as a pilot is when I buy an air ticket.

          The point is the hotel is saving way more than you get in compensation for not having the room serviced. Yes the environment benefits because there’s no more small soaps going into circulation and your towels don’t get washed, but If they can get 15 people doing this every day then that’s a housekeeper out of a job!

          • harry says:

            Odd logic you employ there, Tony…

            Let’s leave it there, maybe 🙂

          • Leo says:

            Blimey I never thought I would agree with Harry on anything…. unusual times indeed!

          • Steve says:

            You’ll probably find that per room they have a set time. 17 minutes to clean an en-suite king room for example. This includes changing all the linens etc.

            If the room is a mess and they spend more time cleaning it, it just puts them behind, and I’ll bet getting paid for running past their allowed time is not an option.

    • ankomonkey says:

      SPG have been giving points for skipping a room clean in certain hotels for years…

    • John says:

      Crowne Plaza Heathrow offered bonus points for not having room cleaned on stays of more than 2 nights I think? Can’t remember the exact details. I’m guessing they mainly have ppl staying for 1 night though and its an attempt to try and reduce the number of rooms to clean than save money.. they argue the ‘green’ aspects of it

    • Fenny says:

      The Crowne Plaza in Copenhagen will give you a Kr75 F&B credit for passing on one day’s cleaning. I was only there for 2 nights and didn’t notice this until the second day, so I missed out on a drink.

  • Liz says: offered me a double rewards voucher for a review on our recent stay – as it was I did score it high as it was a lovely place. Voucher now received.

    • Doug M says:

      I use a fair bit, say 40 nights per year, and always leave honest reveiws. I left one very honest review of a decent hotel and an appaling room and they didn’t publish it, first review they’d failed to publish. Completely changed my view of the value of reviews, since previously my reviews had been neutral to good, and all published. I’m easily pleased and fairly undemanding, so long as things are honest. I like hotels that offer small incentives to skip housekeeping, not something I ever need anyway.

      • Lady London says:

        I always expect to see some negative reviews and I look at the so-so ones too. I expect to see a balance otherwise I’m very wary. I contribute a lot of reviews on various things but mostly only when I feel I’ve something to add or a different take on things – but only on websites and for products I care about.

        Like most of us even if I’ve got something not so good to say about a hotel or restaurant experience the one thing I will always do is I really try to protect the staff and be as positive as possible about them. After all, they’re only trying to earn a living and I always think ‘that could be me, if I wasn’t so lucky as I am ‘ so I’m as helpful as possible to them.

  • Sam Wardill says:

    Well done Rob for raising this. I think it is really important to highlight this sort of thing. I never put much trust in IHG ratings. I always focus on Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor regards this as fraud but is not always particularly diligent in eradicating it. Luckily other journalists also try to hold Tripadvisor to account. See

  • Nick G says:

    As I’m reading this article an email from TA popped up saying how good a reviewer I am keep up the good reviews blah blah. Coincidence or some kind of magic algorithms?! Or maybe rob is in on it all along

    • Lady London says:

      You can blame Google. They’re watching you. They’re the best at it. Even Yahoo is not too bad at tracking you, drawing conclusions and up pops the relevant ad.

  • Tom Murray says:

    On a recent trip to Nova Scotia we needed to pull our accommodation forward as we decided to skip a day as the loads on our return to the UK were looking better the day before.

    No problem with one B&B inn, but the other ‘could’ do it but hoped in advance that we could leave an ‘Excellent’ TA review on departure……

    We didn’t, because we really couldn’t. It was just not warranted.

  • Abu says:

    Yes, this reminds me of reviews I left for items on Tesco to stop other people from being tricked by their misleading product presentation. The description was massively misleading and my review sort to clarify this. Because the review was poor, it didn’t get published.

    Last week Argos asked for feedback three times. Annoyingly, they did this after I provided feedback at the first time of asking. I subsequent wrote to them asking them why they kept bombarding me with this spam.. and then an hour later another request for feedback.

    How can these companies operate in this way. Big business doesn’t know what it’s doing while it pursues £

  • Recap: Centurion Lounge Give Away, Bribery For Points, Free Nest Thermostats & More - Doctor Of Credit says:

    […] A Holiday Inn attempts bribery to gain positive reviews! by Head For Points. Nothing like a little bribery to increase your review scores. […]

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