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Are Premier Inn hotels “cheap” or “mid-price”?

by Rajul on February 11, 2010

You get comfy "Premier Dream" beds and a "Good Night Guarantee" at Premier Inn - but you do have to pay a reasonable room rate for the privilege

One of our pet obsessions is the budget hotel sector, as shown recently in our two-part Premier Inn versus Travelodge head to head showdown.

Today we ask if Premier Inn – with some solid hotels including its County Hall hotel near the London Eye – genuinely offers a “cheap” product.

Quick research using TripAdvisor and our “Best Deal Finder” metasearch reveals that its room rates are usually quite a bit higher than its main budget hotel competitor, the fast-expanding Travelodge.

Check best rate for Premier Inn County Hall from 30+ hotel booking sites

On the other hand, TripAdvisor reviews do show that this premium is sometimes worth paying if you are willing to stretch your budget.

Delving deeper into Premier Inn’s proposition, they are clearly positioning themselves as offering “value added” rather than purely “value”.

Here are some examples of Premier Inn amenities and services:

  • Good Night Guarantee: if a guest is not fully satisfied, Premier Inn will refund the cost of their room.
  • All hotels have a restaurant and bar.
  • Business account cards and meeting room facilities in most hotels (check before booking).
  • 24 hour reception.
  • “Premier Dream” bed with mattress enhancer.
  • 1000 point quality audit on cleanliness, measured by an outside agency.
  • Active and extensive guest feedback programme.

This list clearly shows that the company is set up as a mid-range operator – not at all a Ryanair wannabe.  And hotels like its highly-regarded Tower Hill property – currently number 43 on TripAdvisor – confirm this.

Check best rate for Premier Inn Tower Hill from 30+ hotel booking sites

Premier Inn Tower Hill is currently the chain's highest-ranked hotel on TripAdvisor

Premier Inn Tower Hill is currently the chain's highest-ranked hotel on TripAdvisor

All this begs the question: why even bother to compete so fiercely with Travelodge?  Their advertising is often incredibly similar to the extent that Travelodge even recently brought a legal case against them.

In my opinion, the companies are operating in different markets.  There’s enough room for both of them if they execute consistently.

I’d therefore advise Premier Inn to tug the ears of some of its more expensive and mediocre rivals in London’s mid-price hotel sector, rather than try to mimic Travelodge on pricing – a battle it can’t really win.

This would then pitch them against some excellent “budget luxury” London hotels – Apex City of London, the Hoxton and Base2stay Kensington all come immediately to mind as current TripAdvisor top 20 stalwarts.

But it would also allow Premier Inn to clean up against other mediocre and expensive rivals, to move itself away from a price-oriented positioning.

Perhaps then Premier Inn would also see the sense of offering free WiFi to guests, like several other cheap and mid-price hotels which already do.

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Photo credits: Premier Inn.

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