In March, if you would still remember, I put together a blog post where I mentioned how it was about time for me to start putting a stop to the constant rip-off and the many frustrations that have become more and more evident by the day, when trying to stay connected, while I’m travelling on a business trip or while on vacation. In that article I mentioned how I was going to start black-listing those hotels that would surely not meet those standards of providing good quality Internet access, whether wi-fi or Ethernet, to their guests, specially even more when they advertise those very same services. Well, to that list I’d now need to add NH-Hotels. And all of them for that matter!
I bet you may be wondering why, right? Of course, due to an overall awful experience on the recent trip that I did to Barcelona, Spain, towards the end of June. One not to forget, for sure! I was even asked whether I wanted to fill in a form to submit an official complaint about it, and, eventually, I kindly declined it. Instead, here I am, on my own blog, sharing with you folks why I’ll no longer stay, ever, and I mean *ever*, in an NH-Hotel in any city in the world. And you know why? Because of a single keyword: Swisscom.
If you would ever want to go through one of the most excruciating, painfully exhausting, horrendously incompetent, appalling, uncommitted, uninvolved, amazingly frustrating experiences on wi-fi connectivity while in a hotel, please do stay for a couple of days in an NH-Hotel and you will have the full package! And big time!!
My experience got started on June 23rd, when I arrived into the NH Podium hotel in Barcelona itself. I knew already about these hotels as they provide really good quality service; staff is very very friendly and always very helpful. The hotel offers everything you would need and for really good prices, except for one little, minor thing: the wi-fi provided by Swisscom. That’s just so poor, it’s not even starting to make sense anymore! And here is why…
I knew that their prices were a complete rip-off, since I have stayed in other NH-Hotels in the past; but I thought it may well be a good opportunity to try things out once more and see whether things have changed. Oh, well, not very likely! Quite the opposite! Apparently, making use of Swisscom’s wi-fi means having to pay nearly 18 Euros per day (Yes, you are reading it right! 18 Euros per day!!). If you are going to stay for a week the total price for their wi-fi services is nearly 70 Euros for 7 days (Yes, indeed, 70 Euros!!!), which is nearly double the amount of what I pay myself back at home for an entire month! And no bandwidth limits nor connectivity issues!
Oh, yes, that’s the second problem… If you are going to provide a rather expensive wi-fi connection at your hotel based on the Swisscom service I would encourage you to come up to the standards and provide a good quality wi-fi connection, because otherwise it’s a complete disgrace having to pay 18 Euros per day for a connection that doesn’t reach 1.5 Mbps download / .48 Mbps upload. Yes, that’s what they would provide you, if you are lucky! Speedtest.net proved to be rather helpful in this regard.
Anyway, I needed to be connected, since I was there in Barcelona for a few days spending a couple of days off, but also working in between, so needed to find a way to stay connected during that week, so I decided to go for the full week package of 70 Euros. End result? Three days down on making use of it I had already spent a couple of hours, each day!, talking to their Customer Service Representatives, because I just couldn’t rather get connected nor keep the connection going. Yes, I realise I was on the 4th floor of the building and that this may have influenced it, but then again I had to do an important video conference that week, which I did from a hotel room on the first floor and that still went down a couple of times in over the course of 90 minutes! Not very helpful and adding further up into the frustrations already accumulated over the last couple of days.
Customer Service Reps were very very helpful & knowledgeable, but, unfortunately, their knowledge run out when they discovered it was an infrastructure problem they were not going to be capable of solving during my entire stay there! Can you believe that? 4 days to try to fix a poor Internet connection? Can you imagine having to run your business under such conditions knowing that each day you are paying a rather expensive fee for a service that’s not even there in the first place? No, I agree with you. I can’t either!
So, seeing how they weren’t going anywhere I decided to go and raise my concerns to the NH-Hotel staff, who in turn decided it was not their problem, because they had outsourced the wi-fi connectivity to Swisscom and it wasn’t their problem altogether. Well, it is! It’ is very much so your problem! After all, your are hiring them to provide your clients a service they are not giving and, as a customer, I come to your hotel, because I expect that service to work; otherwise I’d go elsewhere. Well, it didn’t happen. It was not their fault, it’s Swisscom’s and there is no escape for me to try to get some decent wi-fi connectivity.
I eventually gave up! I asked to have my money re-funded back into my bank account, since I couldn’t stand anymore the frustrating experience of having paid for an expensive service that was non-existent, to the say the least. And I did get that refund… 7 days later! Once I got back home! Very funny! Even funnier was the situation where I was told I could go and get connected to the Internet from the lobby and was also kindly provided with a 24h. voucher to connect to the wi-fi while in the lobby itself. Ok, things were looking up a bit. Well, if only they were…
I found out I couldn’t get to use the wi-fi from the lobby, because, even though I was told the first 30 minutes were free, it eventually wasn’t like that. Perhaps it was for their only one computer there hooked up to the Internet, but, hey, guess what? I want to use my own Mac to connect to the Internet. That’s where I have got most of my work related stuff! Makes sense, don’t you think? So I decided to give it a try with the 24h voucher and, to my surprise, the connection worked rather well, but it was a voucher of an uninterrupted 24h connection, not just the time I may have wanted to connect to the Internet. Since I was not planning on being there 24h straight on the Internet, I could only basically use it for 3 to 4 hours, before going into meetings and a walk through the city. The next day the voucher expired and was kindly asked to pay for a new fee. No, it didn’t happen. I refused to pay.
I decided to stop suffering from not having any connectivity, when I thought I should, and get over with the frustrations once and for all. I had better things to do, people to meet, places to check out, work to do, things to get done, other than spending whatever other time on the phone trying to solve these issues. Sorry, thought you had already wasted enough of my time and my patience.
That’s why I eventually spent the entire week mostly disconnected and relying on my iPhone 3G connection, which, those folks who have been using it themselves with Movistar for a while, would certainly come forward and tell you how reliable it is as of late… Not!! I am not sure how I managed to do it, but I eventually got along the remaining of the week connected here and there, but certainly not at the optimal level I was expecting from a service I already knew was expensive, but thought perhaps it may well be worth trying again.
Not going to happen. Ever. A couple of days after I arrived back home, I received an online feedback form from both Swisscom and NH-Hotels to provide some constructive feedback on what I thought my stay was like. And needless to say that I shared my ¢2. All the way. Even to the point where I stated, very clearly, why for as long as NH-Hotels have got a contract with Swisscom for their wi-fi connection in their hotel rooms I will never, ever, stay a single night in them. Would prefer to go elsewhere, even if they didn’t provide wi-fi in the first place. At least, I would know in advance.
A few days, after I sent along that feedback form, have gone by, and I’m still waiting for an answer, or even an acknowledgement, that they are already working on one of the most serious issues I bet they have from their overall hotel service. Because I bet I’m not the only one who’s had such horrendous experience with Swisscom alone. For sure! Either way, for me it was the last one. Like I said, I am not expecting any answer back, specially since I know I may be offered one of those lovely vouchers that expires before you even blink or get offered to stay at their hotel(s). Sorry, not again. Learned my lesson through the hard way and not ready to go through it once more. Life is just too short and I have got better things to do…
So, to me, NH-Hotels + Swisscom, from now onwards, would equal an overall frustrating experience I could do without… and I guess it’s about time that someone shouts out loud what’s obvious, at least, to those of us who have experienced it so far and who from now onwards, would claim that NH-Hotels + Swisscom = Blacklisted for good!
Tags: NH Hotels, Swisscom, Wi-Fi, Connectivity, Connection, Internet Connection, Customer Service, Service, Offerings, Customers, Clients, Complaints, Swisscom Sucks, NH Podium, Barcelona, Spain, Expensive Swisscom, Rip-Off, Hotels, Lack of Service, Movistar, iPhone, 3G, Mobility, Mobile Computing, Flexiwork, Smart Work, Decent Service, Swisscom Blacklisted, NH Hotels Blacklisted