Whitbread hails strong growth in Yorkshire as the economy picks up

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​​​​W​HITBREAD​, Britain’s biggest hotel ​​operator, ​reported strong growth in demand ​outside London and said this is a clear sign that the ​rest of the ​country’s economic recovery is gathering pace.

​The group said its 46 Premier Inns in Yorkshire​ performed well over the 13 weeks to May 29, contributing to a 9.5 per cent increase in the chain’s ​like-for-like sales over the quarter.

The strong performance from the hotel business drove a 6.9 per cent increase in the company’s first-quarter like-for-like sales.

​While the London hotel market has been strong for over a year as ​the capital​ emerged from a prolonged economic downturn, that has not been the case outside of London.

​Whitbread’s chief ​e​xecutive Andy Harrison ​said: “We know that hotel demand is quite closely linked to economic activity, so it tells us that there are clear signs of economic recovery in the UK regions which we were not seeing a year ago​.

“We are seeing a good performance right throughout the UK.”

​​Premier Inn’s ​​revenue per available room, a key industry measure, ​rose 8.8 per​ ​cent​ across all its 670 UK hotels, but growth was higher in the regions.

“I think what’s interesting is if you look in the UK regions, where ​​​revenue per available room for the total hotel market is up 9.2 per​ ​cent,”​ said Mr Harrison.