Whitbread plans to subsume Premier Lodge team

Hotel chain Premier Lodge's Northampton-based marketing department is to close, following its purchase by leisure group Whitbread for £505m.

It is not yet clear whether any marketing jobs will be lost as a result.

Whitbread will merge its Travel Inn brand with Premier Lodge under the name Premier Travel Inn later this year.

Premier Lodge's marketing department will shut in November, with control of marketing operations passing to Whitbread's offices in Luton. Travel Inn's sales and marketing director Gill Baker has been handed marketing responsibility for the combined chain.

Baker, who is reviewing Travel Inn's ad agency arrangements, said that it was too early to tell whether Premier Lodge brand development director Nick Read would stay with the company.

The acquisition of Premier Lodge increases Whitbread's share of the budget hotel market from 30% to 50%.

Whitbread also acquired 19 pub restaurants for £31.2m as part of the takeover. These will be rebranded as Brewers Fayre by March 2005.

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