Whitbread is yet another business banking on a boom in staycations this summer to help it recover some of the £1bn loss it racked up last year.

The hotel and restaurant operator reported in its preliminary results for FY2021 yesterday (27 April), that revenue had fallen 71.5% to £589.4m during the year.

Chief executive Alison Brittain acknowledged that the financial year to 25 February 2021 had been “one of the most challenging in our 279-year history”, but insisted that the FTSE 100 company was well-placed to profit from the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, reported The Times.

The business, which operates around 400 Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and table table pub restaurants have opened some for outdoor trading with the remainder due to reopen from 17 May.

Brittain said that while Premier Inns in tourist locations would experience an immediate boost from the lifting of restrictions, the return of other types of bookings would be more variable.

The past year’s stay-at-home orders “significantly hurt” Whitbread, with the past year’s losses no surprise, commented analyst Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Even while the group’s hotels and restaurants were open, occupancy was well below historic levels,” it said.

“Pent-up demand is expected to unleash a staycation boom in the UK this summer, which will benefit primarily around 15% of Whitbread’s portfolio. We got a preview of what summer staycation demand looks like when restrictions were lifted last year, and it was barely enough to cover costs.

“Occupancy was 51% in August and 58% in September. Ultimately the group needs sporting events, weddings and business travel to resume in earnest before a recovery will be on the cards,” it said.