I've had my ups and downs with IHG. At one end of the spectrum there is the truly amazing Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam where I stayed in a €400 junior suite for the discounted rate of zero due to their old Best Price Guarantee programme, and then a chance stay at the Intercontinental Porto which convinced me to move to the city a few years later.
On the flip side, all four or five of my stays at Holiday Inn at Norwich Airport have been deservedly forgettable. Its location is great to catch the early KLM Cityhopper flights to Amsterdam for an onward longhaul flight, or if you work in oil and gas the 6am helicopter ride, but that may just about be it. This is despite being rated 4.2 out of 5 on their website while on Tripadvisor they received 3.5 out of 5.
Looking up and down the list for IHG's properties in London in the middle of April, I see what I would call a statistical anomaly. Out of 98 listed properties, nearly all hotels score 4.0/5 or higher, with only five score 3.9 and two receiving 3.8. I'll let the professional statisticians provide the conclusive ‘proof' but this seemed a bit fishy to me.
Digging further, I found one of Head for Points' old articles and a corresponding Flyertalk forum which appeared to address this issue. Several readers reported negative feedback which either censored in its entirety, or in the rare occasion it was published there were several positive ‘reviews' quickly published to push the negative one out of the first few pages.
As reported, one reputable Flyertalker adopted his own scoring system. In order to get his review published the lowest mark he could give was 3, and when considering potential stays, he says:
Overall score of 4.6 is great
Overall score of 4.3-4.5 is ‘nothing special’
Overall score of 4.0-4.2 is ‘hit or miss’
Overall score of 3.9 or below is ‘avoid at any cost’
For me the only redeeming factor for Holiday Inn Norwich Airport was its 1 minute walk from the Airport Terminal, which eliminates the ‘avoid at any cost' factor.
But unless you are trying to trigger the “Rewards nights. Faster” promotion, be extremely careful as this habit could be bordering on malpractice in some countries. Always double check your property against other websites like Tripadvisor, Booking.com or Hotels.com.