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Businesses travellers trading down at hotels

29 July 2008 by

Budget hotel chain Premier Inn has seen substantial growth in corporate bookings, suggesting that business travellers are trading-down as the UK economy falters.

The group, which is owned by Whitbread, claimed sales through its Business Account Card increased 48% in June and 337 new business customers signed up to the scheme.

The company also said 1,238 new businesses, mainly from the UK, had successfully applied for a corporate account.

Chief executive of Whitbread, Alan Parker, said Premier Inn was experiencing "significant growth in corporate account usage" suggesting that business customers are "reigning in on corporate travel expenditure".

Parker added: "The smart business traveller is opting for a high-quality hotel room at a much lower price."

Peter Tyrie, managing director of the luxury hotel group the Eton Collection, admitted this week that business corporate bookings had fallen by 5%, adding weight to the budget hotel firm's claim.

Any move towards businesses trading down is likely to be highlighted this autumn when the hotel industry publishes its new corporate rates, which will likely be lower if so.

Whitbread reports positive start to the year >>

Whitbread looks to combat rising food prices >>

Whitbread pays almost £20m for three Premier Inn London sites >>

Tough second half of the year ahead for hoteliers >>

JJW Luxury buys The Eton Collection >>

By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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