Whitbread owned Premier Inn is claiming that guests are flocking back to the brand, following a push to encourage customers to go on weekend breaks, and a recent advertising campaign featuring comedian, Lenny Henry. Alan Parker, the company’s chief executive, said that times were austere, but that the chain’s strategy of supplying a reasonably priced hospitality brand had meant that it was capable of putting in a strong performance within the market at the moment. Mr Parker added that he was still cautious about the consumer climate as a whole.

Marketing spend for the chain has increased, and Premier said that rooms costing £29 per night had helped to increase occupancy figures over weekends. The hotel also claimed that revenue created by sales to business accounts had grown by 21 per cent. Overall, Premier admits that room rates might be down on this time last year, but also says that occupancy is up by 9 per cent.

Like-for-like sales at Whitbread’s Costa Coffee chain were described as outstanding by Mr Parker, who announced that sales were up by 8.5 per cent. The company’s pub restaurant chain was also showing a like-for-like improvement on last year of 3.6 per cent.

Mr Parker, who has been running the leisure giant for 18 years, will retire in November. He said that the group had managed to weather the recession well and had managed to place itself in an excellent position to take advantage of economic recovery.

Mr Parker is to be replaced by current CEO of EasyJet, Andy Harrison.