Premier Travel Inn (PTI), Whitbread’s budget hotel chain, has promoted Paul Flaum, its operations director, to the newly created role of chief operating officer. Flaum joined the company in 2002 from Odeon, the cinema company, and was credited with playing an important role in the integration of Premier Lodge, which was acquired from Spirit Group in 2004. He will report to Patrick Dempsey, managing director, and will be responsible for the profit, guest and team delivery of the company’s UK operation, and in particular, PTI’s expansion plans. The company, which currently operates 30,000 rooms, wants 45,000 rooms in the UK by 2010.