Hub by Premier Inn aims to appeal to customers ‘who value price, location and design over space’. Rooms are just 11.4sq.m, with an en-suite shower, 40-inch TV and free Wi-Fi.
Whitbread, which is already the UK’s largest hotel group, will open the first Hub in London’s Covent Garden next year, with five more to open in the next three years and 40 in the pipeline by 2018.
The group’s managing director Patrick Dempsey said: “Premier Inn has played a leading role in shaping the budget hotel market and we believe Hub will do the same for a new generation of compact city centre hotels.
“Hub will work in tandem with Premier Inn, appealing to more price-sensitive customers seeking quality accommodation in the heart of a city. It will enable us to broaden our customer appeal and further strengthen our competitive edge.”
The new brand claims to be the first in the UK to have its own app, letting customers control their entire booking experience. The Hub app allows guests to book and check-in online, and pre-select their room temperature, light settings and TV channels.
Hotels will also have their own deli-style restaurants with plans to source produce from local suppliers and guests able to pre-order breakfast using their Hub app.
Since June 2012, five prototype rooms have been on sale every night at the Premier Inn Kings Cross and during that time 1,825 guests have given individual feedback. The result was seven iterations of the ‘Hub experience’, in a bid to fit with key customer needs.
Point of difference
For Whitbread, the Hub will bridge the price disparity between the slightly higher-priced Premier Inn and rival budget hotel chain Travelodge.
Earlier this year, Dempsey told BigHospitality that there were a number of key differences between Premier Inn and Travelodge.“We’ve got 50,000 rooms and Travelodge haven’t,” he said. “I think customers really understand the difference between the two brands in terms of who’s biggest.
“Six years ago, we were called Travel Inn. We had a similar product and a similar RevPAR. Today, we have a very different product, the bedrooms are very different. We’re outperforming, so it’s a good point in time.”
Hub by Premier Inn will have 25 per cent lower building and operating costs compared to a Central London Premier Inn, and its smaller room format gives Whitbread access to a broader range of buildings in city centres.
Andy Harrison, Whitbread's chief executive, added: "Hub by Premier Inn will reinforce the achievement of our 75,000 UK rooms milestone by 2018and provide us with another exciting new growth platform.
“With substantial operating and commercial synergies from the Premier Inn network, we are confident that Hub will deliver good returns for our shareholders.”
The first Hub by Premier Inn will be a 167-bed hotel in St Martin’s Lane. Whitbread’s committed pipeline for the brand also includes:
- 179-bedroom hotel in Goodge Street, opening Autumn 2014
- 119-bedroom hotel in Great Tower Street, opening early 2015
- 185-bedroom hotel in Spitafields, opening early 2015
- 408-bedroom hotel in Kings Cross, opening early 2016