Demand for budget hotel increases

Premier Inn’s like-for-like sales have risen 8.5% over the 39 weeks to November, with total sales up 16.4% compared to the same period last year.

The budget hotel chain benefited from a 5.0% rise in revenue per available room (revpar) over the first nine months of the 2008/09 financial year.

Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants also saw growth with a 7.4% increase in like-for-like sales and an 11.5% rise in total sales.

Alan Parker, Whitbread’s ceo, said: “Whitbread has strong brands positioned in attractive, value for money sectors.

“Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants have continued to outperform the market with total sales up.”

Mr Parker said Business Account customer sales were up 33% thanks to a 16% increase in membership.

But Mr Parker added that despite “robust” trading, Whitbread has seen “some softening of growth in November.”

He said: “We have been reviewing our future development plans as the macro economic situation has become increasingly challenging.

“We believe that while this environment remains we should take a more prudent approach to organic expansion.”

The group will limit capital expenditure to £200m in 2009/10 compared to £300m this year.

Mr Parker confirmed the group was still “on track” to open 4,000 rooms in 2008/09.

“We will continue to invest in our existing estate and selected new high returning projects as well as maintaining a land bank for future development,” he added.

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