Dave Snowden

Call this a four star hotel?

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Regular readers will know that I have never failed to praise good service or pillory bad service. Every now and then you get a spectacular own goal. The last few days have seen that at the Intercontinental hotel in Chicago. the saga is a complex one, so best expressed as some simple bullet points. Like many a good story it starts well, moves to despair and then descends to farce.

So here we go ….
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  • I arrived Friday evening at the end of a tiring journey. 13½ hours from Sydney to Los Angeles, a too rapid one hour transit between terminals leading to a four hour flight to Chicago. All of that was OK, a few good films, G&Ts as a soporific and the off excitement; my passport spun off the shelf on landing, flew three rows back and lodged under a seat. I solved that with a coat hanger and a torch before we got to the gate. it was United not Singapore Airlines so problem solving requires a DIY mentality.
  • The worst part of the journey was from O’Hare into Chicago, took over two hours of dense traffic. I finally got into the Intercontinental and settled into a rather good room in the older part of the building. Wireless connection gave me instant internet access and I could relax before my first AOM session the next morning.
  • Saturday I couldn’t get access, but I was at the AOM so used the free wireless there all day. Sunday I needed access from the room so I attempted to gain access. No luck, IP address allocated, good signal but a lockdown site that didn’t allow me enter any details. So I read the notice (pictured) and phoned the number.
  • It was a reasonable service, they got all the data, said they would fix it by midday which was not brilliant, but so what it was Sunday, so OK. By midday no reply, but I had to go to the AOM so I managed that afternoon.
  • Sunday evening around 1800 I was back in the room, still no access so I phoned again. Profuse apologies and a leave it with us
  • Sunday evening around 2200 I phone again, I now had a backlog of material that needed to go so UK clients would get it when they woke up that morning. Yet another new person, yet another promise but now on second level support and my own reference number (66526445.1). Good confident person, got my Airport address and all data said it would be fixed within an hour.   
  • I fell asleep waiting, no phone call, I woke up at 0530 Monday morning, no access phoned again, yet another person but this time I am told their is an server outage at the Intercontinental so they don’t know when it will be fixed. (it turns out this must have been a lie but never mind).
  • 0815 I phone again, and am told that there is an outage, they can’t do anything and I have to phone reception. I do that and discover (this is where is becomes farcical) that the people I have been talking to, based on the notice in my room no longer provide the service. No apology for this, in fact the implication that somehow or other I am to blame for actually reading their notices rather than ignoring them.
  • 0830 I am put through to hotel support (in parallel I learn my daughter has been robbed in Bali – main loss 800 pictures which is tragic – so I am trying to sort that out as well) and they force the login telling me all will be OK. Good news although he says that I will be charged an undisclosed sum of money when I check out. Its now 1430 in the UK and I am getting the odd angry email about non-delivery on the blackberry.
  • 1800 I return to my room, no access so I phone reception again, after a long wait and too much music the problem is fixed and I am promised I won’t need to phone again. Not sure I believe that so I am leaving the computer on overnight. I’ll have to do that anyway as the connection is really slow and there is a lot of material to upload.
  • 1900 the original support line phone me to say that they have just discovered that they lost the contract and ceased providing service on the 4th August, I then see that the out of date notice (pictured) is still on my desk. You would have thought that having discovered the fault they would have immediately removed it.

For me this raises some interesting questions:

  • How can the hotel be so incompetent if it changes suppliers not to change the room notices for a week after the old service has been terminated?
  • Why is the customer care so bad, that having messed me around for 30 hours and disturbed by sleep I get no real apology and just a bald statement that I can now be expected to be charged for a low grade service delivered late?
  • How can Stayinline be so incompetent that over multiple calls no one realises that the Intercontinental is no longer a customer? I suspect I was been fobbed off as an excuse to avoid any real work.

Have just summarised the above in an email to the hotel, holding posting pending a response ……..

…. no response having being received and the incorrect card is still in the room I am now posting this

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