Ex-Costa Coffee property acquisition manager to drive Premier Inn expansion

Whitbread Plc, the parent company to Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel business, has strengthened its property acquisition team to drive the expansion of Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn across the UK and Ireland.

Jill Anderson, who joins the business as a property acquisition manager from Costa Coffee, will lead the expansion of Premier Inn in the north of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The appointment follows Whitbread’s announcement of a new long-term network target for Premier Inn in the UK and Ireland of 125,000 bedrooms – equivalent to a 17% market share – made during Whitbread’s FY23 interim results announcement to the City on 25th October 2022.

Whitbread currently operates a network of 82,700 hotel rooms in the UK and Ireland with a further 8,875 bedrooms in its committed development pipeline. The business is on course to open between 1,500 and 2,000 new Premier Inn rooms this financial year and will return to opening 2,000 to 3,000 rooms per year going forward.

Derek Griffin, head of acquisitions for Premier Inn, explained, “We are focused on maintaining our position as the UK’s number one hotel business.

'Our network of hotels is trading well and with the backing of Whitbread’s strong covenant and financial firepower we are well-placed to invest in growing our estate through the cycle and deliver long-term value for our shareholders.

'Adding Jill to our experienced team of in-house property acquisition managers demonstrates our continued appetite to expand the business and deliver the next generation of new locations for Premier Inn customers.”

Jill brings more than 25 years’ experience working in property acquisition and development. Prior to joining Whitbread, Jill spent close to ten years at Costa Coffee expanding the store estate in the south-west preceded by similar roles at Tesco and Somerfield. She started her career in private practice in London and the north-east.

Jill said, “Having worked for Costa Coffee when it was owned by Whitbread, I am no stranger to the company. The culture and Top 100 Employer status attracted me back along with the opportunity of expanding the Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn brand at a time of focused growth and expansion.

'I have hit the ground running and am looking forward to building the pipeline of new hotels in the north of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Do reach out to discuss opportunities in these locations.”

Whitbread’s new long-term expansion targets for Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn are being driven by structural changes in the UK hotels market. The company believes the supply of hotel bedrooms is 4% lower that it was pre-pandemic, creating a favourable market backdrop and providing opportunities for Premier Inn to grow market share.