Best Western Blows It

Is it possible to purchase an item over the internet without being bombarded with spam? I’m beginning to wonder after staying at a Best Western for two nights.

When I called the Best Western reservation line, I was able to reserve a room on short notice. After giving the man my information including my credit card, he asked for my email address and said that’s where he’d send my confirmation number.

Everything about our stay went smoothly. The rooms were clean and the staff was polite. Kim and I both mentioned that we’d consider staying at Best Western the next time we took a family vacation. We checked out of our room and made our way back to Seattle, and that’s when the emails started.

The first few emails asked me to click on a link to provide feedback about our stay. I don’t typically leave feedback unless someone went above and beyond their job, and I do so in order to call out that specific employee by name. If I have a problem with service, I’ll ask to speak with a manager to see if we can solve it directly. Our stay with Best Western was good, but I didn’t experience anything so memorable that I felt it worth ten minutes of my time to fill out a feedback form.

So I deleted the emails. But the next day more emails arrived, with ever more urgent wording.

“We value your feedback”

“Your feedback helps us continue providing excellent service”

“We NEED your feedback!”

“Give us feedback or give us death!”

Ok, so I created the last one but that’s how I felt.

I then began to receive special offer emails from Best Western. In tiny print, at the bottom of each email, was a link to update my subscription settings. Since when did I subscribe to anything? I tried to remove myself from all mailings but that clearly didn’t work. The wording on those things is so convoluted that I’m sure that’s the point of the whole exercise. Make it easy to sign up but impossible to leave.

I didn’t subscribe to anything, and shame on Best Western for adding my email to their mailing lists without my permission. Any company that believes a purchase grants them permission to send unsolicited emails is misguided. I can hear the marketing pitch now: “For every 5000 emails we send out, 10 people will call to reserve a room.”

Of course, they never mention how many past customers will take their money elsewhere next time because of those very emails.

What started out as a pleasant stay with Best Western has turned into a negative reminder each time I delete their spam from my inbox. Maybe Best Western got suckered into a client loyalty program, but their actions are incredibly short-sighted.

Sure, send out one request for feedback, but that’s it. Don’t send a reminder when I don’t fill it out within 24 hours. And certainly don’t continue to barrage me with special offer emails.

You ruined a good thing, Best Western. I have choices when it comes to affordable lodging and I’ll vote with my wallet.