Hotel Brands

Whitbread Q3 sales up 5.5% despite Omicron

Whitbread expects Premier Inn’s UK like-for-like RevPAR run rates will recover to pre-Covid levels during 2022.

Whitbread has announced its like-for-like accommodation sales increased by 5.5% in the UK for the 13 weeks ending 25 November 2021 (Q3 FY22), compared to the same period in FY20, with Premier Inn accommodation sales 10.6% ahead of FY20.

For the six weeks to 6 January 2022, Whitbread’s total UK accommodation sales also grew 5.1% ahead of FY20, with the group declaring “resilient” trading despite the onset of the Omicron variant.

The growth in UK accommodation sales was reportedly driven by “strong” leisure demand and recovering business demand.

Additionally, the group was operating positive cash flow in the period to the end of December, with net cash of £120.5m, enabling investment in its growth strategy.

Whitbread said it maintains its expectation that Premier Inn’s UK like-for-like RevPAR run rates will recover to pre-Covid levels during 2022.

Alison Brittain, Whitbread CEO, said: “Q3 represented another strong performance in the UK with Premier Inn continuing to trade significantly ahead of the market. High levels of leisure demand and improving business demand helped maintain like-for-like accommodation sales ahead of pre Covid-19 levels.

“In the UK, we will grow through the competitive advantages of having by far the largest network of hotels and operating the number one hotel brand, combined with our direct distribution, best-in-class operating model, broad customer reach and underpinned by our market-leading sustainability programme.”

She added: “These unique attributes, combined with our yield management, estate growth, and cost efficiency programme, ensure we are in a far stronger position than others to offset inflationary headwinds and return to our pre Covid-19 margins.”

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