Premier Inn less helpful than North Korea in emergency situations

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A UK couple were forced to cancel their North Korea trip after that isolated nation closed its borders to the virus. One would assume that getting the money back from the North Korean tour company,  the Chinese airlines and hotels would be a nightmare.

The Time of London reports that every penny of the £2,860 (approx $US3,700)  they had given to the companies in China and North Korea was refunded -within days.  They were reportedly delighted.

Less delightful was their experienced with UK hotel operator Premier Inns. They had booked a non refundable night for a standard double room at Premier Inn, Manchester airport from where they were catching a flight to Beijing, China. The cost was £35 cost of a  The hotel chain  refused to budge and would not refund the money.

I am not surprised. I have had the same response from the company.

In January, after the terrible Australian fires impacted family members and communities causing UK travel plans to be completely turned on their head. I turned to Premier Inn to explain the situation. They sent me a lovely letter in response:

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The booking was made months before and was non refundable. We gave Premier Inn six weeks notice. I totally understand when a customer changes their mind, then a company would not be expected to refund. Isn’t it better, hiwever,  to build good will with people when the situation is through no fault of their own.  We would  have accepted a change of dates. Now of course, the Corona virus has taken hold and I  am gingerly making my way through Asia knowing that there is chance that I may not even make it to the UK on our new dates!

I had another attempt with Premier on Twitter but they are still not moving. I was given a phone number through which I can beg my case -but one has  a certain level of dignity! Particularly when the response is going to be “no”.

Premier Inn is the UK’s largest hotel chain with 800 hotels owned by Whitbread plc. It competes with IBIS and Travelodge. And they have lost us as a customer!

What do you  think? Are Premier absolutely entitled to refuse to refund or  change dates in an emergency situation? Or are they being unreasonable?

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  1. No, it is not better to get goodwill. At 35GBP per night, what do you expect? That the 99 cent store has a public relations team?

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