Premier Inn, a renowned budget brand, has been making waves in the UK hospitality sector. Beyond its reputation for quality accommodation, Premier Inn has significantly contributed to the UK’s economy. We sat down with James Anderson, Property Communications Manager at Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn, to delve deeper into this.

UKREiiF: James, can you shed light on Premier Inn’s unique operating model?

James Anderson:. Premier Inn’s aim is to provide consistent, high-quality, family-friendly accommodation across the UK. Over the past two decades, we’ve expanded rapidly, giving the brand a significant presence. While we pride ourselves on our quality rooms and excellent breakfast, we don’t push our guests to eat lunch or dinner with us compared to full-service hotels. This gives them to the option to either stay and eat with us or explore local communities, benefiting the local economy.

UKREiiF: How do you measure Premier Inn’s economic contribution?

James Anderson: A few years ago, we embarked on a project to quantify the economic impact of Premier Inn. Unlike other brands, we control every aspect of our customer journey, from marketing to post-stay communications with all the operations of a hotel in-between. This independence from intermediaries like and other online travel agents allows us to directly survey our guests. We took advantage and inserted questions into our post-stay guest survey to help us understand the economic contribution our guests make whilst staying with us. Last year, we ran a project across 354 of our hotels, categorising them into six buckets of location – Central London, inner London, City Centre, cultural, Adventure, and Coasts. We asked guests about their activities and spending habits during their stay, including the proximity of that spending to their chosen hotel. We stopped the sample at 12,600 responses – a statistically significant number – with IPOS and Turley economic supporting on the Survey Design and Impact Modelling.

UKREiiF: What were the findings from this survey?

James Anderson: The results were enlightening. Our hotels have a massive economic impact on local communities. Our guests explore local attractions, dine at local establishments, and contribute to the local economy. From the sample, we understand that on average, guests staying in a typical 100-bedroom Premier Inn hotel contribute about £3.3 million annually to the local community. When you multiply this by our 840 hotels, it amounts to an external expenditure of around £1.3 billion annually by our guests.

UKREiiF: That’s impressive. How does this impact vary across different locations?

James Anderson: We found that Premier Inn hotels in city centres naturally see higher external spends due to their bustling nature. However, all our hotels, regardless of their location, contribute significantly to their communities. An interesting statistic from our survey revealed that around 20% of our guests would not have visited the chosen location if a Premier Inn was not located there. This means we’re attracting new visitors, not just catering to existing ones which is really important when we’re introducing our brand in new locations.

UKREiiF: With such a significant impact, do you have plans for further expansion?

James Anderson: Absolutely. We currently operate 850 hotels with around 83,500 bedrooms in the UK. But we see potential for 125,000 bedrooms in the UK and Ireland. The evolving hospitality landscape in the UK, coupled with our loyal customer base, bolsters our confidence in expansion. Each new hotel not only offers employment but also stimulates local economic growth.

UKREiiF: How has your association with UKREiiF aided Premier Inn’s growth?

James Anderson: What I think UKREiiF offers is a platform to connect with local authority leaders and stakeholders. These interactions we have had at previous events have been valuable, offering insights and fostering collaborations that have aided our growth.  

UKREiiF: Thank you, James, for these insights.

James Anderson: Thank you for having me. We’re proud of our contributions and the positive ripple effects they create in communities across the UK. Our model encourages guests to immerse themselves in local experiences, which in turn benefits local businesses. It’s a win-win for everyone involved I reckon.

James Anderson, Property Communications Manager at Whitbread