Premier Inn reports increased trade-down, bullish for rest of 2010

LEAGRAVE, ENGLAND Whitbread PLC reports that its hotel division, the budget Premier Inn chain, has seen a significant uptick in trade-down among business travelers for the first half of this year.

Whitbread, which is the largest operator of hotels in the UK and the 26th largest hotelier in the world, posted 20% growth in corporate business year-to-date, primarily from trade-down. Business travelers account for about 60% of Premier Inn revenues.

The group has made an effort to target leisure travelers this year, with room offers of as little as £29. While that effort has made modest inroads, CEO Alan Parker says the trade-down among business travelers has been “a sustained trend” for a full calendar year now.

Sales at Premier Inn hotels open for more than a year were up 10.7%, with RevPAR up 9.8%.

Parker expects growth to slow later in the year as comparative sales figures gain, however he remains confident that Premier Inn’s overall performance will continue to show improvement.