Thanks to the current promotion, I had the chance to dip my toe into the world of Best Western – my first post-hobby experience with them. I just want to report my experience, since there’s not much info about them in the miles and points blogosphere. The title says it all – the website is crappy, while customer service exceeded my expectation (n=2).
When you go to the website to view your reservation, it’s a crap shoot as to whether it shows any pertinent information. Most of the time, I get pretty much a blank page with the hotel contact info and almost nothing about my stay – no bed type, cost/points info, cancellation policy, etc. For example:
The confirmation email ain’t much better. It has the # of points used, but still no bed type or cancellation policy.
Want to change your reservation? Don’t click on the “modify reservation” button, all you’ll get is this:
Notice anything different from the first screenshot? Me neither. Actually, there is a difference – you now have a “save changes” button – with absolutely no possible change to save.
Once in a while, when the IT pandas wake up from their long nap, you do see the pertinent info on the website. Most of the time, the pandas are napping.
Could it be a browser issue? Maybe. I haven’t tested all browsers. But I’m using Chrome, the most popular browser in the world, and it doesn’t work reliably. That it sometimes works suggests it’s not completely a browser compatibility issue.
To be fair, we should compare BW’s IT to that of its closest competitors, like Choice and Wyndham. In that sense, I think it’s more or less comparable (sadly). Choice’s website is a disaster – just take a look at the Flyertalk thread of its isues. Wyndham is a dinosaur in that you can’t pull up your reservations with your account – you can only do it by the confirmation #. I’ve had reservations where the confirmation # given at the time of booking was DIFFERENT from what the confirmation email had, and the reservation retrieval system used the former, meaning if you didn’t write it down at the time of booking, you’re hosed. You can of course contact Wyndham customer service, but who wants to do that? Speaking of which…
Good Customer Service
Specifically, corporate customer service. I needed to shorten the stay by a day, and as you saw above, it can’t be done online. There was no more new availability, so I couldn’t just book a new stay and cancel the existing one. I could do it the other way around, but it’s not risk free, meaning the cancelled availability may not reappear. So I called customer service. It was late at night – around midnight Eastern Time, and my call was answered right away by a competent agent who took care of it and answered some other concerns I had. I had no problem checking in.
After the stay, I saw that I was charged an extra night of points. I emailed Best Western Rewards, the loyalty program, with the stay information. Within one business day, they replied and credited the mistakenly deducted points back to my account.
Let me say that I have dealt with customer service from many hotel programs, from popular ones like SPG to more obscure ones like Choice. My experience with BW CS is so far very limited, but based on my n=2, I’d put them on the better half of the spectrum along with Kimpton, Fairmont, and Hyatt. My experience was definitely more positive than the sad encounters I’ve had with IHG, Choice, and Wyndham customer service.
In a Nutshell
Overall, I had a positive semi-first experience with Best Western, of course sweetened by the exciting promotion. I didn’t talk about the actual stay here – that’ll come in a future post.
What’s been your experience with BW?