The owners of hotel chain Premier Inn have warned that up to 6,000 jobs could be lost as a result of low demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whitbread, who own the company, have said they expect demand from customers to “remain low in the short to medium-term.”

The announcement comes days after the the firm reported that sales were down 38.5 per cent in August.

Why are Whitbread cutting so many jobs?

While demand has been relatively high in seaside and resort towns since lockdown measures were eased, the number of people booking hotels in major cities has reduced significantly, largely due to a reduction in international tourism.

With major restrictions on travel and socialising in place over the last few months, the hotel sector has been one of the worst hit, and without any sign that things will return back to normal soon.

In looking to axe as many as 6,000 jobs, Whitbread is expecting to lay off about 20 per cent of its entire staff.

How will the company decide which jobs to cut?

Whitbread says it expects some of the 6,000 cuts to be found through voluntary redundancies.

The company’s priority is “to ensure that the process is fair and that impacted colleagues are supported throughout.”

In a statement to the stock market, the firm said: "With market demand expected to remain at lower levels in the short to medium-term, we have now taken the very difficult decision to announce our intention to enter into consultation on proposals that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies for our hotel and restaurant colleagues.

"We expect a significant proportion of these redundancies to be achieved voluntarily.

"Our priority now is to ensure that the process is fair and that impacted colleagues are supported throughout.

"This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business."