The Premier Inn operator has introduced new menus and targeted marketing initiatives to help drive continued improvement in F&B sales.
The company also reported continued market outperformance in the UK, with total accommodation sales 27.2pp ahead of the market and lfl sales 221.6% ahead vs FY22 and 21.3% ahead vs FY20.
Ahead of expectations
Whitbread is confident of continued margin recovery due to strong trading and improved occupancy levels in the first three months of FY23, alongside the decline of the independent hotel sector.
The company plans to invest £20-30m in labour, refurbishments, and IT in FY23, resulting in additional costs due to maintenance projects to drive future earnings and targeted pay increases to mitigate the labour crisis. This quarter has also seen the replacement of the group’s existing debt facility with a new £775m five-year revolving credit facility.
Additionally, Whitbread’s Germany operation reported trading ahead of expectations and increased occupancy levels following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
CEO Alison Brittain commented: “The strength of Premier Inn’s recovery in the UK continues to be ahead of expectations with a particularly strong Q1 performance that is well ahead of pre-pandemic levels and we continue to significantly outperform the market.
“This outperformance is driven by a number of factors, including our commercial and operational focus as well as the strength of our brand and operating model, our direct distribution, national coverage and accelerated independent supply contraction.
“In Germany, our open hotel estate now stands at 40 hotels, with a further 38 hotels in the pipeline. The quality and prime location of our hotels are proving highly attractive and are driving high customer scores.
"The trading performance of our more mature hotels in the two months post the lifting of COVID restrictions only reinforces our positive view of the significant opportunity in Germany.
“This impressive Q1 performance together with improved visibility into Q2, gives us increased confidence in delivering a strong first half and remaining ahead of the market for the rest of the year.”