Premier Inn to shrink rooms in order to grow profits
It constantly seems like things are getting smaller for consumers. From popular snacks like chocolate bars, to toilet rolls and even the homes we live in, it seems like ‘shrinkflation’ is here to stay. And the latest news from Whitbread, the owners of budget hotel chain Premier Inn, indicates that hotel rooms might well be the next victim.
Named Zip by Premier Inn, Whitbread has said it is to bring a new breed of hotel chain to the UK, with all new compact room designs. The concept, as described by Whitbread’s chief executive, Alison Brittain, is to provide cheap accommodation to the “ultra-price-sensitive customer looking to zip in and out” in hotels which will be located on the fringes of major tourist towns and cities.
The pod like rooms at Zip have been specially designed by consultancy PriestmanGoode which has previously been tasked with designing high-end travel spaces like the first-class aeroplane cabins used by Air France, Lufthansa and SWISS.
Whilst not quite capsule hotel rooms like those found in Japan, Zip rooms will measure up at 8.5 square metres and feature two single beds which can be pushed together to give a double as well as an en-suite bathroom with a power shower – all for prices as low as £19 a night.
For an extra charge travellers can access super-fast Wi-Fi (£5 a day), daily cleaning (£5) or breakfast (£3.95 per person).
Premier Inn’s managing director, Simon Jones, said: “We have undertaken considerable research, including having had six Zip rooms on sale to customers for many months. It’s clear through the research that people want the basics done brilliantly, such as a comfy bed and a power shower, but they are happy to compromise on location or some extras if they are paying a fantastic price for their room.”
So what’s the verdict? A great idea for budget travellers, or just another way companies are looking to cut customer experience?
There is no denying that if Premier Inn can really offer compact rooms that do “the basics brilliantly” for such a low price they will see massive consumer uptake as the opportunity to experience new destinations for the fraction of the price is made real – however it is yet to be seen how they will maintain such a low price point with growing demand.
It will certainly be interesting to see how these rooms fit into the already saturated hotel market and compete alongside other budget brands.