Whitbread recruits two leisure property experts

Whitbread, the UK’s largest hospitality business, has made two senior appointments to its UK property team as it invests to deliver its strategy of growing Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn across the UK and Ireland.

The company currently operates more than 840 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotels in the UK and Ireland and believes there is potential for 125,000 bedrooms in those markets in time.

Together, the two new appointments bring 50 years’ experience in property development, acquisition, and project management in the leisure sector to Whitbread’s in-house property team.

Georgina Powell has joined the team as a Project and Programme Manager working on Whitbread’s new-build hotel developments in London and the south of England. She brings 17 years of construction and project management experience to Whitbread from roles at Costa Coffee, Whitbread Property and in private practice.

Neil Haskins (pictured), who started his career at Whitbread in 1987 before taking up senior roles at Gerald Eve and Merlin Entertainments, has returned to the business to drive the company’s programme of hotel extensions across the UK.

Alex Flach, Development Director in the UK and Ireland for Whitbread, said, “My mission is to grow our estate from 83,000 rooms today towards the long-term network potential of 125,000 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn rooms in the UK and Ireland.

“To do so, we need an expert team to identify new opportunities for growing our brands. We also need construction and project management specialists to develop out the hotels within Whitbread’s secured development pipeline.

“Georgina and Neil bring a huge amount of experience to Whitbread and I’m grateful to have them back in the team to help grow our estate in popular, sought-after, and often constrained locations for our customers.”

At the time of publishing its 2022/23 interim results in October 2022, Whitbread’s trading network and committed pipeline stood at 91,600 bedrooms in the UK and Ireland. It is also currently searching for new locations for Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn in more than 160 locations across the UK and Ireland.