I just saw an interesting use of text messages between a hotel and it's customers. Give them your number and they'll text you:
When you are not staying at the hotel, they'll text you:
This was a big Las Vegas hotel and it obviously benefits the larger resorts more than a small motel. What would a smaller place do? “Come to the office now, we reduced the prices on the vending machine for one hour!”
Will text messages become the new email spam? Most people are still charged for each text message. Around 0.20 a message on average. Many people have unlimited plans but we are still a long ways from that being the standard.
Like many offers there will be good and bad aspects of this. If they text you to come to a particular bar in the hotel for a special offer that you'll like, that is cool. If a company can send you a great coupon that you just have to show on your phone to get, that is cool. If they text you about a Britney Spears concert and room rates every week when you won't be back in that city for another year, that is not cool.
How do you stop the messages? In the referenced offer that I saw, they had a particular custom text message you send to them and they will stop messages coming to you. As this becomes a more common marketing tactic, perhaps a standard message should be accepted like unsubscribe is to email programs.
Whether they use that number and sell it partners for “related offers” remains to be seen but I'm pretty sure that is where we're headed.