Hotel booking in Britain pick up prior to summer travel season
Even as Britain delays plans to ease pandemic restrictions, Premier Inn-owner Whitbread said that hotel bookings in its tourist locations picked up in the run-up to the summer travel season.
The travel and leisure sector is showing signs of recovery from the pandemic-driven slump in 2020 as Britons have started booking domestic trips for the summer holiday season that runs from June to August.
With Britain now pushing back its plans to lift most social restrictions to July 19 from June 21, the company said a full recovery of leisure demand depended on the removal of remaining lockdown measures.
The Dunstable-based company, however, said total sales fell 69.8% in the 13 weeks ended May 27 from pre-COVID-19 levels, with food and beverage sales declining about 86%.
By May 17, when overnight leisure stays were allowed, the company said 98% of its more than 800 Premier Inn hotels was open.
“Our forward bookings continue to improve, benefiting from the anticipated post-lockdown bounce in leisure demand, and a continued gradual improvement in business bookings,” Chief Executive Officer Alison Britain said.
The company does not expect office-based business demand to “recover in earnest” until the Autumn.