Whitbread looks at web booking boost for Premier Inn

Whitbread, is focussing on improving its online hotel booking services as its Premier Inn hotel chain struggles.

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Whitbread, is focussing on improving its online hotel booking services as its Premier Inn hotel chain struggles.

The leisure group that includes Costa Coffee shops and the Beefeater restaurants, saw a 10 per cent drop in profits in the first half of 2009 and a drop in like-for-like sales in the hotel chain.

Premier Inn is Whitbread’s largest division and has picked up increased business traveller custom as all companies rein in costs, but has seen overall business decline.

"We have widened our online booking distribution channels, bringing in new revenue streams and introducing new leisure customers to the brand," Whitbread said in its first half results.

Long standing Whitbread CIO Ben Wishart has been focussing on improving productivity and processes across the group including self service check in kiosks and increasing web services.

Group sales for Whitbread increased by three per cent in the first six months of 2009, in part due to a 67 per cent increase in operating profit at Costa Coffee stores.

Whitbread is looking to take £25 million of costs out of the organisation by nest year.

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