Premier Inn unveils no-frills hotel brand with pod-style rooms

Marco Green
October 22, 2018

United Kingdom hospitality company Whitbread has added a new budget brand to its hotel portfolio: Zip by Premier Inn. All rooms have a 1980s caravan holiday aesthetic, but at least there's a plug socket near the end of the bed where your exhausted old head is propped up, along with free Wi-Fi (with a 1GB daily limit and certain device restrictions) if you're in the windowless basement where the local mobile network fails to penetrate. The only major downsides are it's on the fringes of a Cardiff business park and isn't opening until March of 2019.

The first Zip hotel, with 138 rooms, will open in the Roath district of Cardiff early next year.

Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn, says it conducted extensive research that revealed guests were willing to forego certain comforts - such as large rooms and super-central locations - in favour of a lower price.

Customers get an 8.5 sqm room, with a single bed which can be converted into a double by sliding across a couch from the other side of the room, or used as twins.

However, some of the rooms will be windowless, with lightboxes replacing sunlight. "We have invested in the Premier Inn brand over many years to become the UK's most-loved hotel company with 800 hotels in the United Kingdom, and we believe there is a niche in an under-served market for ZIP", said Alison Brittain, CEO, Whitbread PLC.

The new ultra-budget chain, called Zip by Premier Inn, will "do the essentials brilliantly, then take away everything else". It sold its Costa chain for £3.9bn to Coca-Cola in August to focus on hotels.

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".

There are more than 800 Premier Inns in the United Kingdom, along with 10 Hub by Premier Inn hotels in central locations in London and Edinburgh.

The Yotel chain also offers compact pod-style rooms in New York, Boston and Singapore city centres, as well as Gatwick, Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol airports at considerably higher prices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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