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What to do when a hotel operator consistently acts more like a 1970s Insurance company?
There is a group out of Spain that you probably know – NH Hotels.
[SIZE=4][B][URL=’https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiRxZL55evTAhWCgLwKHaFQA6gQFghEMAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nh-hotels.com%2F&usg=AFQjCNF_ATTomcDXonQXifAoNHhrklUTkg&sig2=FE1vi0EtJjy7CDi17l5Fjg’]NH Hotel Group | Find and book your hotel online[/URL][/B][/SIZE]
[I]Hotels[/I] in Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and many other destinations • Best price guarantee • Book your three,four or five star [I]hotel[/I] online.
Note the “Best price guarantee”. Two times in the last two months I have found significantly cheaper prices for rooms at NH Unterhaching (Munich) on Expedia.com.au than on their site.
So I tried to access their online chat (as the web site says to) and it was not operating. Turns out it has limited hours of operation. So I booked via Expedia.com.au and then filled in an online form to obtain the BPG. Response – denied.
So I then ask why, as the Expedia.com.au showed the price in Euros on the booking made (and on the final screen while booking), it was an identical booking to that made directly (room, inclusions, conditions etc). Response – denied – no reasons given and then the tag – we hope you’ll enjoy your stay with us!
This time I go onto to their FB page and after several days (not hour as page suggests) I get a positive response – a booking has been made at 10% below the Expedia price, sign-in to your NH Rewards account to see it.
All up it took two weeks to resolve.
Fast forward to late April, and you guessed it same thing again but this time I got the online chat. Sent screen shots showing the price in Euros, T&Cs etc etc. “Alex” – No it does not qualify as it shows price in Australian Dollars.
I type – and it shows the price in Euros and states that the payment at the hotel is to be in the local currency and that the AUD price shown is merely an approximation at current exchange rate.
Can I please deal with a supervisor.
Alex – I’ve alerted a supervisor and they cannot deal with you now.
When can they?
Alex – it’s been a long time since I’ve heard from you. Good-bye.
It was less than 15 seconds actually.
So try to lodge a complaint about this, go and fill out online BPG form again. First reply 4 days later No. Second reply Yes.
Then I respond – Now that the price has been corrected I wish to redeem my “Birthday Coupon 20% off” sent to me on April 20.
Response – it is not available for the period at the hotel.
STRANGE as I had tried doing a dummy booking at the time and it was honoured but at the much higher starting price than Expedia.com.au offered.
T&Cs from Birthday Email:
20% off to celebrate
Enjoy [B]20% off[/B]
your next direct booking.
Insert this promotional code
[URL=’http://l.newsletter.nh-hotels.com/rts/go2.aspx?h=535638&tp=i-H43-CQ-47T-9buTM-1c-Dyjb-1c-8K9IQ-UOW0E’]whilst looking for your room
on our web[/URL]
Terms and conditions: this promotion applies for bookings through NH Hotels website or mobile app, introducing the promotional code no later than 30 days after the receipt of this email. Bookings are valid for any length of stays to be enjoyed within 3 months following the receipt of this email. Discount applied on the best flexible rate available at hotels included in the promotion and subject to availability. Applicable for accommodation only. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Children up to age of 11 stay for free sharing a room with parents. The total number of children allowed per room depends on the hotel and room type.
So I tried to book originally on April 24 for a stay beginning May 26 to May 30 using the best flexible rate (no cancellation fee).
So 4 days after receipt of email = tick
Stay within 3 months (1 month and 6 days) = tick
Best flexible rate = tick
Yet on the subsequent responses their reply is:
Regarding the discount received this can unfortunately not be used as this discount cannot be added to other discounts which are already applied. In this case our Best price Guarantee policy was previously accepted. Furthermore, this promotion is not available on the period you are staying in our hotel NH München Unterhaching.
Yet they were merely fulfilling their guarantee of getting the cheapest price direct – I got no special discount merely honouring their guarantee.
Curiously enough they are now booked out for the dates but the following week it is available at the higher price than Expedia.com.au AND the discount code takes 20% off.
What should I do?
Hi Andrew. a lot of hotels use BPGs because they sound good and make for good advertising but as you’re finding out they can be tough to enforce and hotels will find any loophole to avoid honoring them and it can be frustrating (the second instance to me is more of a gray area to me since you are no longer paying the best flexible rate).
If you really want to fight this you’re probably going to need to look at what rules are enforced in Germany or complain to the local equivalent of the better business bureau. Might be more hassle than it is worth though. Do you have the option of using another hotel? Just take your business elsewhere and send the GM of this place a copy of your receipts and the business they’ve lost with their chintzy behavior.
Probably because in the 1970’s the website price conflict, online chat, and facebook pages would have been a little bit non-existent. Havn’t not personally dealt with an insurance company in the 1970s I’m going to speculate your avenue of attack may be off.
I would have documented the offer then brought it with me at checkin, not booked it and said “see, I caught you…neener neener”.
In any event, consumers should assume that honoring a Best Price Guarantee is an extreme exception – they put in policies in marketing to prevent the occurrence so stringent that there is no customer service mechanism (especially through the sub-contracted website agent desk, why bother chatting there) is designed to accomodate it easily.
Your best bet is to print off the offer, but book direct, and show the better offer at check in for a price match. You have to pay to play that is, and the front desk clerk on second shift on your day of arrival -most likely to success in hospitality school- is who you want to be talking to eye to eye.
The second best bet is a polite written letter to the corporate office, in their home language. Or better yet, pick a fight you can win. This is just about as smart as arm-wrestling your way to free drinks in an irish pub. You’re gonna get hurt and pay for more in the end.