Whitbread sales expand faster on business travel

Hotel News - 09/09/2010

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Whitbread saw sales expand at an increased pace in the second quarter of the year, as bigger numbers of business travellers and government staff stayed at the group’s Premier Inn budget hotels. Hotel stays by civil servants generated an extra £7 million for Whitbread.

On average, rooms at the group’s hotels cost £54 before VAT. CEO Alan Parker said the group had been encouraged by strong business from the public sector. Planned government spending cuts should see more government employees using budget accommodation. Overall business travel was up by 20 per cent in the first half of the year.

The group bolstered its performance at quiet times of the year by attracting more weekend travellers with a rate of £29 per night. During the August bank holiday, Whitbread’s hotels enjoyed 95-per-cent occupancy rates. This is typically a very quiet time at Premier Inns, said Mr Parker.

Total sales were up by 14 per cent in the first half, and rose 7.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Like-for-like sales were up by 8.2 per cent in the second quarter, an increase from the 7.6 per cent seen in the first quarter.

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