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Eye for detail? I’m not so sure…

I’m having a less than pleasant experience trying to book a hotel in Geneva with NH Hoteles  for  later this  month. According to this corporate page on their site, they proudly claim that they pay attention to the finer details:
NH Hotels is known for its motto, “Eye for detail”. Customers appreciate and have come to expect the difference in products and services provided by NH Hotels. The just-squeezed orange juice in the buffet breakfast, the “Good Night” details in the guestroom, the choice of different size and shape pillows in all the hotels, or the complete complementary toiletry kit with “Agua de la Tierra”, are just some of those details that try to improve the perception of value for money and increase our guests satisfaction.
Sounds great!   However, this isn’t what I’m experiencing, and I haven’t even stayed with them yet.   The chance would be a fine thing!   Here’s the story so far… more than 2 weeks ago, I went on their website and tried to book online. The online booking wasn’t working and this message was returned to me by the website when I attempted to make a reservation:
The server is being improved at the moment. Sorry for the inconvenience and accept a 5% discount. This discount will be applicable, only when the online bookings are not available. You must inform the operator of this discount. As a compromise for the server being unavailable we give you this discount as a guarantee of our service.
OK, fair enough.   I work with computers on a daily basis and can appreciate that things don’t always work as they should.   At least there’s a small gesture there to compensate  for the inconvenience.   So… the next step is to email them.   I send details of the hotel I’d like to book (the NH Geneva Airport, the date, number of people, etc.), I mention the above discount,  and I wait to hear back.   But no reply.   So I email again, and this time I get a response. I’m  quoted a rate of 205 CHF (that’s about £90 or $165), plus city tax.   The bit about the 5% discount is completely  ignored in their correspondence. So… I reply, and tell them I’d like to proceed with the booking  (and  mention once more the discount that I’m apparently entitled to). Here’s the response:
I’m sorry to inform you that the promotion 5% discount is not working any more in our official web page. We suppose that you used a link to enter out web site so the system gave you past information which is not any more right. We are trying to search all the links so we could erase all wrong information. Please, for following request in our web site contact directly the site www.nh-hotels.com. We would appreciate anyway if you could inform us about the link you used in order to help us to solve the problem.
Hmmm…. I didn’t follow a link to get there. I just typed it straight in, and the 5% discount was offered by the site when the online booking failed to work.   I e-mail back.   No reply. I e-mail again…
I haven’t had a reply… please can you confirm that you have reserved a room for me?
Guess what?   No reply.   So I email them again, telling them I need confirmation in order to finalise our plans.   Still no reply.   It’s been more than 2 weeks now, and I still have no idea if they have held a room for us.   SighTo renege on their website offer is one thing (particularly when it’s really such a trivial amount), but to totally ignore correspondence is another matter entirely… especially when it’s someone wanting to hand over their hard-earned money!   You would think an international brand with many four and five star hotels to its name should do better. Anyway… rant over.   Time to email them AGAIN.   Hopefully referencing this blog post might get them to wake up  a little! Update: moments after posting the above, I got not one reply but two confirming my reservation. (They’re still refusing to ackowledge the 5% issue, and bypass that subject altogether, but at least I’ve finally got a response.) Let’s just hope they don’t think I’ve made two reservations when I get there…

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. NH hotels is one of the most important hotel chains in Spain, they have a good feedback and reputation. However, this does not surprise me, there are new chains and hotels arising in Spain that are modernising and NH hotels should wake up from such mistakes and lack of attention to the client in order not to lose their well earned position in the industry. I sometimes have problems too when accesing their website, although I have had no problem at their hotels in Spain…yet. A good tip: their collection pack, for 99€ and offering a night at any of their best hotels. You can buy online or at any of their hotels. I wonder if you made it to the Geneva hotel room safely…

  2. Quite frankly I wouldn’t stay near the aiport. Since you can easily access the city center via train from the same destination, this is not a problem.

    For me, their lack of customer service is the turn off, therefore loosing my business. I guess in this case, a good tip from a fellow traveler could have gotten another hotel booking..

    OR last but not least, try calling..

  3. Hi there, expatraveler… since I was arriving in Geneva quite late, and with family, and I wasn’t going into Geneva the next morning, staying here actually suited me. The room we got was spacious and it worked out quite well as it happened. On check-out, they did however try to charge me without the 5% discount. I presented them with print-outs of my correspondence, and at first they tried to contest it, but they did back down in the end. It’s silly really to leave a bad taste in the mouth like that over such a trivial sum (particularly since it was their mistake and not mine!) because the hotel was actually quite good.


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