Premier Inn owner Whitbread has today reported a lower first-half pretax profit, as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit kept companies from spending on business travel in the UK.

Businesses inside the UK have been putting off travel this year as they wait for more clarity on what the terms of Britain's divorce deal with the European Union will look like. 

"Shorter-term trading conditions in the UK regional market have been difficult, particularly in the business segment where we have a higher proportion of our revenue," Whitbread's chief executive Alison Brittain said.

The dent in hotel demand has been felt especially in regional markets outside London where 80% of the Premier Inn hotels are located. 

Whitbread said it was difficult to predict business confidence and its impact on demand for short stay and domestic travel during the second half of the year. 

The company, which also owns the Beefeater restaurant chain, said adjusted pretax profit fell 4.1% to £236m for the six months ended August 29. Its overall adjusted revenue dipped marginally to £1.08 billion.