The price of shares in FTSE 100 hospitality firm Whitbread (LON:WTB) dropped by 4.63% to 2,327p (as of 11:15 BST) after the company posted a trading update. Revenues for the first quarter were down by 79.8% due to COVID closures, but the company said that the UK hotel estate should be fully reopened by the end of July.
CEO Alison Brittain commented: “We are very pleased to have commenced the reopening of our hotel and restaurant estates, which are now able to welcome all business and leisure guests. In the UK we currently have over 270 hotels open and expect the majority of the remainder of the estate to be open by the end of July. In Germany all of our 19 operational hotels are open, including 13 that were refurbished and rebranded as Premier Inn during the lock-down period.
“It is still very early days and therefore too early to draw any conclusions from our booking trajectory, especially as there has been volatility in hotel performance in other countries that relaxed controls before the UK. However, in traditional regional tourist destinations, we are seeing good demand for the summer months, whilst the rest of the regions and metropolitan areas, including London, remain subdued.
“Throughout the crisis we operated 39 UK hotels to provide accommodation for NHS staff and other key workers. This experience of successfully and safely operating hotels in a socially distanced environment provided key learnings and will enable us to deliver the highest standards to our customers as we reopen the rest of the estate. Enhanced social distancing and hygiene standards can be delivered consistently across our entire estate and this, together with more flexible booking options, our value pricing and our superior network will ensure that our leading customer proposition is maintained“.