Jun 19, 2019

Drop-off in business travel hits Whitbread sales

Whitbread, the leisure group behind Premier Inn, suffered from a sharp deterioration in business travel due to Brexit and fears of a downturn leading to a decline in like-for-like accommodation sales that was worse than the rest of the market. The hotel company said on Wednesday that in the three months up to the end of May 2019, sales of rooms declined 4.6 per cent in its core UK market, compared to a decline of 0.1 per cent for the UK's economy hotel sector as a whole. Like-for-like revenue per available room, an industry sales metric, was also down 6 per cent, compared to a marketwide decline of 3.4 per cent in the same period. In February Whitbread bought a portfolio of 19 hotels in Germany from the local hotel developer Foremost Hospitality. Richard Clark, an analyst at Bernstein, noted that Whitbread had underperformed on revenue per available room in the UK for three consecutive years and that it was unlikely that it would pick up further business from the demise of regional independent hotels when a downturn came.

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