I do not know how many Best Western Rewards program members there are, and I have no idea if what one of its members told me is typical, but I thought I would share an e-mail I received from a Green Lodging News reader. The reader is clearly passionate about the environment.
“Hello. I am an exclusive Best Western guest and participate in the Best Western Rewards programs. I have achieved the highest elite status level of Diamond Select through actual stays instead of through a status match offered by other chains. I have stayed at 40 to 50 separate Best Western locations in the southeastern United States and have yet to find even one that participates in the Green Housekeeping program. Of these only three were even aware of the program but chose not to participate citing that many guests opted out of housekeeping so as not to reveal how the rooms were abused during their stay. One hotel manager stated to me that it would require that he check the room each day to verify that it was being maintained to be worthy of the points bonus. Well of course I would expect it to be checked but his attitude was that it would be too inconvenient for him to check the room each day. Those of us who do try to honor the intent of the program and opt out of housekeeping by conserving and reusing towels etc. are in no way compensated. I am at this moment on the 8th night of a 9-night stay and have not had housekeeping even once. If Best Western is not able to require or at least strongly encourage hotel owners to honor a part of their program which is highly advertised on the website, then please remove it.”
According to Best Western, Rewards members can earn points by opting out of housekeeping during their stay—500 points for each day one has opted out of housekeeping. How does it work? When a guest checks in, he or she can let the front desk know that they wish to opt out of housekeeping services. Guests can also place the door hanger, located in the room, outside the door. If the hotel has an on-site restaurant, one may receive an equivalent in food and beverage credit. There is a two-night minimum stay and the offer does not apply to the day of checkout.
Assuming this Green Lodging News reader is being truthful, there could be a myriad of things going on here: Best Western not clearly communicating its program to its members who independently own and operate Best Westerns; Best Western not enforcing the Rewards program policy; owners and managers intentionally not participating in the program for any number of reasons; or a breakdown in the training of housekeeping associates and other staff. Whatever the reason, these owners and operators are missing out on a “no brainer” way of saving energy, water, chemicals and labor costs. Their lack of participation is not green at all.