If You Want Unbiased Hotel Reviews, Don't Trust Expedia

What’s the purpose of hotel reviews on Expedia.com? Based on the recent experiences of two customers who wrote to Consumerist this week, it’s not to provide a balanced overview of customers’ experiences. Two unrelated readers stayed in different hotel chains in different cities, had bad experiences, and wanted to warn other travelers. Expedia posted neither of their reviews. Why not?

Christie felt unsafe outside of her hotel, and was devoured by bugs inside of it.

This may be old news, but I am not getting any sort of adequate response in my follow-up emails to Expedia, so I thought I would send my story on to you. Basically, Expedia is trying to buy me off – they sent me a $50 credit today after I posted a negative review for a hotel, with the “understanding” that they would remove my review from the site (or possibly they never even posted it). We’re not talking mold smells here – we’re talking about bedbug bites after staying there one night and feeling like our car was probably going to get broken into (i.e. me and my 6’2″ fellow traveler were afraid to walk two blocks together at night and ended up turning around). Obviously the perception that user reviews can at least give you a baseline of safety and security is incorrect. If I were traveling alone, for example, I would certainly want to know the hotel was surrounded by a chainlink fence and bordered by a highway, a liquor store, a discount cigarette store, and abandoned storage units and that at least one fellow traveler (and her large manly friend) did not feel safe. I would think anyone would want to know about the bedbugs.

I am mostly just incredibly offended that they removed a review that I had hoped would help give future travelers a clear picture of what they might be getting themselves into at this place. Frankly, I don’t want their $50 – I want them to re-post my review and make it a practice to not delete other serious health and safety related user reviews.

Jered had a different sort of bad hotel experience, but Expedia won’t accept his review for publication at all.

For the past few weeks I’ve been having a great deal of trouble getting Expedia to publish a negative review. Have you seen anything on this in the past?

Last month I had a terrible experience with a Crowne Plaza hotel that I booked through Expedia. Amazingly, Expedia made things right (although it took a long time on the phone with them). After my trip, I tried to enter the review I attached below.

This review has been rejected 3 times so far. I’ve taken great care to make sure it doesn’t violate their guidelines. I even called in and the agent I spoke with was shocked by my experience at the hotel, and said I should submit the review again.

Reviewing Expedia’s website I find very few negative reviews, and the ones that are posted generally have atrocious spelling and grammar. Might Expedia have a bias against well-written negative reviews? They have not responded to further requests for clarification that I have sent.

Here’s the review that Jered tried to post:

We arrived at the hotel only to be told that, even though this was a PRE-PAID reservation, no rooms were available. They told us they would send us to a nearby equivalent hotel — which ended up being neither, a much lesser hotel more than 20 miles away. At least the desk agent promised that we would receive a full refund, and that I just needed to speak with the reservations manager in the morning. In the morning I called the reservations manager. She told me that she “was sorry for the miscommunication” but what I had been told was “not our policy”, and that only one night would be refunded and we would be required to stay at ther Crowne Plaza for the 2nd night. Regardless of what we had been told, she refused to budge on this matter and would not authorize a refund, even though we had no interest in doing business with them. After an hour on the phone with Expedia I was issued a full refund (by Expedia) and rebooked into a far nicer hotel at an equivalent rate. I will never stay at a Crowne Plaza (or other Intercontinental brand) again.