Spam Shame: Premier Inn

When I traveled to London last year, I stayed in the Premier Inn at London County Hall. It was a great hotel in a great location.

But I just got this email from them:


I don’t think they understand how email works. Giving me advance notice to opt out of spam I didn’t ask for doesn’t make it okay. Consider the following:

Dear Premier Inn,

If I don’t hear from you by 17th March, I’ll assume you’re happy for me to regularly mail you expired food from my refrigerator regularly — and to kick things off, I’ll send you some expired fish very soon.

Best wishes,

Disgrunted customer

See? That’d be patently unreasonable. (But immensely satisfying.) Why is theirs any different? If I actually wanted their “special offers,” how about letting me ask for them, versus informing me that they’re going to start sending them to me until I demand they stop?

When in London, stay somewhere else!

2 thoughts on “Spam Shame: Premier Inn

  1. Hi Matt – I work at Premier Inn in the UK, responsible for our customer marketing programmes. I’m sorry to read that you were disappointed with our emailing to you some months back.

    I’d like to explain a little … we found that a lot of customers staying with us were not opting into receiving our communications … and the same customers were also not opting out either. So we just didn’t know whether these customers wanted to hear from us or not.

    All of our best offers are sent out to registered customers first. So we didn’t want customers to miss out without realising it. So that’s why we devised and sent out this email.

    Any customers NOT wanting to hear from us could quickly and easily opt-out with one click. But not many did. In fact our emailings are so popular that the number of customers asking to receive them has quadrupled in the last eighteen months. It’s part of why Premier Inn is so popular – lots of new hotels, a consistent high quality service … and great offers.

    So please forgive us. And please stay with us again?

    If you’d rather not receive our offers it’s easy to unsubscribe through http://www.premierinn.com/ BUT my advice is NOT to so that you continue to hear about all of the best offers first.

    You’re very welcome to get in touch if I can help further.

    Regards David Oliver
    Head of Customer Marketing, Premier Inn

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for your comment. However:

    “…we found that a lot of customers staying with us were not opting into receiving our communications.”

    Perhaps that is because they didn’t want them?

    “…and the same customers were also not opting out either.”

    Which sounds to me like they were just deleting your emails unread. (Or started flagging them as spam, as I did.)

    “So we just didn’t know whether these customers wanted to hear from us or not.”

    That’s simple–did they opt in? If not, perhaps they didn’t want to hear from you.

    Any customers NOT wanting to hear from us could quickly and easily opt-out with one click.

    This is what every spammer ever has said. And that’s why most computer-savvy people known not to click opt-out links: they simply confirm to the spammers that the address is valid and result in more spam.

    So please forgive us.

    Well, you see, you haven’t actually apologized or admitted wrongdoing. In fact, you’re defending using non-opt-in email marketing, also known as unsolicited commercial email, also known as spam. So I will certainly not forgive you.

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