Specialty Hotel Chains: Premier Inn Hotels

Hospitality management in this segment offers both well-known and lesser-known hotel chains. A historical overview with current statistics. This version is part of Whitbread, the British Premier Inn.

Premier Inn is the largest hotel chain in the UK and Ireland with approximately 850 hotels. Since 2016, the hotel company has also been operating in Germany and has grown to more than forty hotels in that country. The hotel company operates in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Premier Inn is known as a budget hotel chain. Apart from the standard Premier Hotels, limited service hotels, there are two sub-brands. The Hub by Premier Inn has a city center setting with smaller rooms and more in-room technology like tablets. The ‘Zip By Premier Inn’ is cheaper and has smaller pod-style rooms. Some rooms have no windows and simple service for food and drinks. The first Zip Hotel opened in 2019 in Roth, Cardiff.

The Premier Inn is part of the Whitbread area, originally a brewer established in 1742. Premier Inn is now the biggest part of Whitbread. Apart from the hotel chain, Whitbread owns the restaurant chains Beefeater, Brewers Favre and Table Table. Whitbread will accommodate around 30,000 employees. The British company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE 100 index.

Grow up

Premier Inn was founded by Whitbread in 1987 as a travel hotel to compete with the British budget hotel chain Travelodge. Whitbread bought Premier Lodge in 2004 and merged with Travel Inn to form the current entity ‘Premier Travel Inn’, which was later shortened to ‘Premier Inn’ in 2007. Premier accounts for 70 percent of Whitbread’s revenue. In 2004 Whitbread bought another hotel chain, Premier Lodge, for £536 million. It added 141 hotels to its portfolio. Whitbread called each hotel a “Premier Travel Inn”. In 2005 Premier Travel Inn opened its 500th hotel in Hemel Hempstead.

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In early 2006 Premier Travel Inn acquired 11 Holiday Inn hotels in England and Wales. In September 2007, Whitbread announced the acquisition of Golden Tulip UK, which included six hotels in the UK trading under the Tulip Inn and Golden Tulip brands. Inns were converted into Premier Inns. Premier Inn hotels are usually found in city centers or on the outskirts near major highways. Hotels vary in size; From small hotels in the provinces to large new building hotels in city centers.

Most Premier Inn hotels are new-build, although many inner-city properties in England are in converted office buildings that would otherwise be demolished. Premier Inn entered Ireland in 2007 when it took over Tulip Inn.


In 2006, Premier Inn announced a joint venture with the Emirates Group to launch in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. This is the first step in expanding the brand outside the UK. The joint venture has identified three locations in Dubai and created more than 800 new rooms. The first Premier Inn to open in Dubai is a 300-room hotel in Dubai Investment Park. A similar-sized hotel opened at Dubai Airport and a 220-room hotel at Dubai Silicon Oasis on Emirates Road. There is a Premier Inn at Abu Dhabi Capital Center and another Premier Inn at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which opened on November 19, 2013. Premier Inn operates a total of eight hotels in Dubai and two in Abu Dhabi. Premier Inn has two locations in Qatar. One of the Education City next to the Qatar National Convention Center which opened in May 2017.

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the future

Premier is committed to growth and is looking to grow its portfolio in the United Kingdom and Germany. In the United Kingdom, Premier Inn has more than 90,000 hotel rooms in approximately 850 hotels. The ambition is to increase the number of hotel rooms to 110,000 rooms in the future. In Germany, the company has more than 40 hotels and 14,000 hotel rooms. That should be 60,000 hotel rooms in the future. In July 2022, Premier Inn began construction of the first fully electric Premier Inn hotel in the city center of the British city of Swindon. The five-story, 195-bedroom hotel is the first premier hotel designed to be unconnected to natural gas supply. Instead, the hotel is fully heated and powered by grid energy generated from renewable sources.

As of January 2023, Dominic Paul will be the new CEO of Whitbread, Premier’s parent company. He takes over from Alison Britton, who is retiring after seven years. Paul is from Domino’s Pizza. Before that, he was CEO of British coffee chain Costa, which until 2019 was part of Whitbread.

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Ferdinand Woolridge

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