Whitbread: Premier Inn owner braces for UK holiday boom
The hotel and restaurant firm forecasts “a significant bounce in leisure demand in our tourist locations”.
At the same time, Whitbread laid bare the impact of the pandemic on its business as annual losses reached £1bn and sales tumbled by more than 70%.
The firm said last year was the “most challenging in our 279 year history”.
It revealed that it had benefitted from £270m worth of government support during coronavirus, including the furlough scheme.
Whitbread, which also owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurant chains, said almost all of its 800 UK and Ireland hotels, some 92%, were now open. This compares with just 39 that were opened during the first lockdown when they were used to provide accommodation for essential workers.
Recent lockdowns saw its hotels at just 23% of potential occupancy in January and 29% in February.
The company said: “Strong demand is expected for ‘staycations’ in UK tourist destinations throughout the summer, with business and event-led leisure demand starting to gradually recover thereafter.”