A growing number of business travellers is using the budget chain Premier Inn, its owners the Whitbread PLC said.
The company reported an increase of 10.7% in like for like bookings for the first 13 weeks of its financial year to May 13.
Total sales for the period were 18.3% up compared with the same weeks in 2007.
Alan Parker, Whitbread’s ceo, said revenue per available room had risen by 6.2% despite having an extra 8.3% room on offer through hotel expansion.
He added that business travellers looking to save money were choosing the budget brand.
“There are clear signs that the corporate traveller is getting more savvy and recognising value for money,” Mr Parker said.
“Sales through our Business Account card have grown by 40% year on year as corporate travellers recognise Premier Inn’s value for money price and quality.”
Premier Inn was now delivering three quarters of the company’s profits.
The number of its customers divided almost 50-50 between business and leisure.
But the former tended to stay longer, giving the corporate market 60% of the nights stayed.

Lufthansa defends data record

Lufthansa has rejected allegations by the VDR, German travel managers’ association that it has a “carefree” attitude to data protection.
The association made the accusation in a letter last week to the airline.
This was after the carrier admitted it had used its data to check the flights taken by a board member suspected of leaking confidential information.
But in a reply to the VDR, Lufthansa said it has a centre for data protection whose leader had to report to the company head of finance.
In the letter, the airline said that for “strategic reasons” different areas of the company were subject to different controls on data access.
But it added: “That does not mean however that uncontrolled access would take place or that the files would not be sufficiently protected.”
Only people which had direct need to use the data were given access.
But Michael Kirnberger, president of the VDR, said that the airline’s attitude seemed to be “data protection, in principle yes, but…”
He said the VDR wanted Lufthansa to be more engaged in data protection so that confidence could be restored.
Mr Kirnberger added that Lufthansa’s admission that it, like other airlines, used marketing information dates tapes (MIDT) for data for network planning and control of sales confirmed the supposition of many travel managers.
He said the Association saw things differently and would pursue its wish for more transparency in this “clandestine and shady” area.

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