Premier Inn repeats denials over business plan

PUBLISHED: 14:05 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:05 22 May 2013

Premier Inns proposed designs for Exmouth

Premier Inns proposed designs for Exmouth


The firm behind Premier Inn is still insisting its planned Exmouth hotel will not take business from local independent hotels – despite the company’s chief executive saying that this was its plan to expand.

Two weeks ago, Whitbread’s Richard Pearson told the Journal that Premier Inn would not compete directly with established hotels and B&Bs.

However, last week Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that competing with such hotels was the way that Premier Inn was planning to grow.

Mr Harrison said: “The hotel market in the UK is flat. We are winning [market] share particularly away from independent hotels. Over half the hotels in the UK are independent and we expect to continue to win share away from independent hotels.”

Despite Mr Harrison’s comments, this week Mr Pearson – Whitbread’s acquisition manager, who is leading the Exmouth project – continued to say that a Premier Inn would be a healthy presence in the town.

He said: “Premier Inn hotels in good locations provide visitors with an alternative accommodation ‘offer’.

“Our guests choose to stay with Premier Inn for its consistency, reliability and affordable prices. Many leisure visitors stay with us on short breaks and long weekends.

“Our customers therefore complement those seeking to stay in independent guest houses, apartments and B&Bs, or those looking for longer or more tailored breaks.

“Premier Inn Exmouth will complement the existing accommodation on offer. We will bring new family-friendly facilities, year-round jobs and fresh investment to the Esplanade and encourage more people to visit the town.

“Our investment is good news for Exmouth. We want to be part of the Exmouth business community and we hope that local people will back what we are trying to achieve.”

East Devon District Council is yet to rule on planning permission for the development.

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