Premier Inn has expanded quickly in recent years to build a network of 660 UK hotels, nearly a third more than its nearest rivals.
Andy Harrison, chief executive, said: “With our growth milestones we expect this gap to widen as we grow to around 750 locations in 2016 and around 830 in 2018.”
The new target equates to a hotel estate of 75,000 rooms by 2018. This will include 3,000 rooms at the new compact city centre hotel brand, Hub by Premier Inn.
Its first new city centre hotel will open in St Martin’s Lane in the West End of London in summer 2014.
Harrison added: “We continue to make good progress in growing the pipeline for Hub and construction has started at the St Martins Lane, London site which is expected to open in the second half of next year.
“This year we expect to open around 4,000 new Premier Inn rooms and add a further 4,500 new rooms in 2014/15.”
Unveiling half-year results Whitbread said it spent £122m on capital expenditure in the first part of the year compared to £188m last year.
The drop off was due to phasing on openings loaded towards the second half. Over the full year Whitbread expects to spend £315m, with £80m directed at maintenance.