Premier Inn tests ‘no-frills’ room concept

A ‘no-frills’ version of the budget Premier Inn hotel brand has been unveiled.

The first Zip by Premier Inn will open in Cardiff in February, with rooms costing from £19 a night.

Parent company Whitbread aims to open three or four properties before deciding whether to expand the concept further.

The Zip in Cardiff is near an industrial estate and it has secured a site in Southampton for a second one.

The rooms will be roughly half the size of a standard Premier Inn room at 8.5 square metres.

They can be made up as a single bed, twin single beds or pushed together to make a double.

Each has a small bathroom with power shower, a TV and overhead storage.

Rooms will only be cleaned once every three days, with a £5 fee for daily cleaning.

They are designed by Priestman Goode, the consultancy behind first-class cabins for Air France and Lufthansa.

Premier Inn managing director Simon Jones said that consumer research and a trial of six Zip rooms at its hotel in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, had established that guests were willing to forgo large rooms, central locations and “bells and whistles” if it saved them money.

The average price of a standard Premier Inn room is £57.

Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive, said: “We believe there is a niche in an under-served market for Zip. It offers us an exciting new platform for growth and will give us access to a broader customer base…catering to short-stay value-conscious guests who are looking to zip in and zip out.”

Whitbread, which is in the process of selling Costa to the Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion, has 789 Premier Inn hotels in Britain, six in the Middle East and one in Germany.