Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Travel: A Brief Warning

Summer travel season is upon us. When I travel, I am going to avoid Super 8. My worst experience ever, out of at least a hundred nights on the road, was at a Super 8 in 2014 where they gave me a smoking room despite my reserving a nonsmoking room; the linens were dirty; the manager's wife walked in on me in the shower; the A/C didn't work. All at the same time. I have had similar, but not as bad, experiences at other Super 8 motels. The worst was that Wyndham Rewards took the manager's side and told me that I had no right to complain to them.

Wyndham Rewards manages not only Super 8 but also

  • Days Inn
  • Hawthorn
  • HoJo (Howard Johnson)
  • Knight's Inn
  • Microtel
  • Ramada
  • Travelodge
  • Wingate
  • Wyndham

At Super 8, and perhaps the others, the customer is always wrong. Too bad, because most of my Super 8 stays were OK. But the only ones that are OK are the ones whose managers take it upon themselves to aspire to high quality; neither the Super 8 corporation nor Wyndham Rewards appear to require any standards of quality from them.

In many cases, natural selection favors those animals (including humans) who practice reciprocity. This results in win-win situations, with (in an economic system) both the customer and manager are happy. But when a corporation is very big, it can treat consumers like dirt and get away with it. We all know of major financial institutions that have done this. It appears that Super 8 and related motel chains are another example. They have made the form of natural selection known as consumer opinion useless.

All one can do is to publish one’s experiences and hope that the market will gradually change. I published a review of this Super 8 on the Consumer Affairs website last year. It has had 71668 views and 29 helpful votes. In today’s online world, consumers might be able to get back a little bit of their power.

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