Hotel and restaurant chain business Whitbread has bucked the trend of rivals such as Marston’s and reported an increase in sales. The company, which is a leader in using technology in its sector, owns the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewery’s Fayre chains.

The Whitbread group reported a group wide sales increase of 13.4 per cent, and an increase in like for like sales of 7.4 per cent. Its restaurant business has also seen like for like sales rise by 5.9 per cent.
Discussing the boom in hotel bookings, chief executive officer Alan Parker said its Business Account is attracting new customers.

Whitbread is currently mid-way through the introduction of online check-in and introducing check-in kiosks at its hotel chains. CIO Ben Wishart is leading the project and told CIO recently that “IT is the backbone of the business.”

Despite the positive results, Parker said in a conference call that November had seen a drop in sales and that projects are being re-considered in the light of a possible difficult market ahead. “We have been reviewing our future development plans as the macro economic situation has become increasingly challenging. We believe that while this environment remains we should take a more prudent approach to organic expansion.”

IT projects were not singled out and Parker said “selected new high returning projects” will continue to be invested in.

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