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Whitbread: 'We are investing in our technology' as profits soar

Anh Nguyen | May 2, 2014
Plans to improve IT and processes this year.

Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee, has committed to investing in technology as it reported a 16.5 percent increase in profits.

The hotel and catering chain, which reported a pre-tax profit of £411.8 million for the year to 27 February 2014, said that it would increase investment in technology this year.

"[We will] increase our revenue investment in technology and process improvements as we evolve our systems to support future growth," Whitbread said.

These improvements form part of a £10 million investment, which includes the cost of refurbishing Premier Inn hotel rooms, that the company is making in 2014/15. It did not provide a breakdown of how much of the £10 million would be spent on IT.

In addition, Whitbread highlighted the strength of its hotel chain's website, premierinn.com, which it said was customers' "preferred" booking channel, as it represented 85 percent of transactions with 77 percent of bookings made direct on the site.

"Over the last four years we have substantially upgraded our online capability, growing our online reservations as a proportion of total bookings from 67 percent to 85 percent," it said.

"We are investing in our technology and have recently launched a new mobile website for Premier Inn as well as a new iPhone app to improve customer conversion."

Julia Warrack has now been confirmed as group CIO at Whitbread, taking on the role permanently after doing the job on an interim basis when IT director Andrew Brothers left in December, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Whitbread signed a 'multi-million pound' business process outsourcing deal with Steria in February last year, in a bid to cut annual service costs by 14 percent.

 

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