Travelodge Hotels Limited
TypePrivate limited company
IndustryHospitality
Founded1973 (1973)
HeadquartersThame, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
over 570 hotels in UK (2019)[1]
11 hotels in Ireland (2010)[2]
5 hotels in Spain (2010)[3]
Area served
United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Spain
Key people
ProductsHotels
RevenueIncrease £637.1m (2018)[citation needed]
Increase £153.5m (EBITDAR)[2]
Increase £48.5m (EBITDA) (2010)[2]
Increase £27.0m (2010)[2]
Total assetsIncrease £888.4m (net) (2010)[2]
OwnerGoldenTree Asset Management, Avenue Capital Group and Goldman Sachs[4]
Number of employees
11,000 (full and part-time) (2011)[2]
Websitewww.travelodge.co.uk

Travelodge Hotels Limited is a private company operating in the hotels and hospitality industry throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. Known simply as Travelodge, it is the UK's largest independent hotel brand with over 570 limited-service hotels across the UK.[1]

Company history

A city centre Travelodge in York
A city centre Travelodge in York

Opening by Trusthouse Forte

In the early 1970s, Charles Forte bought the US Travelodge brand with the hope of establishing it in Britain. The first Travelodges opened in 1973 in former Excelsior Motor Lodge branches, a brand of motels owned by Forte which were located near busy roads.[5] Trusthouse Forte would later open another roadside hotel chain in 1976. These were Little Chef Lodges which were attached to Little Chef restaurants and was the first chain of budget hotels in the UK.[6] In 1988, the two chains were combined and rebranded to become "Forte Travelodge".

Granada ownership

In 1995, Travelodge was bought by Granada, when the Forte Group (formerly Trusthouse Forte) underwent a hostile takeover. Granada decided to open Travelodges away from the roadside, with the first urban Travelodge opening in 1997. In 2001, Granada merged and then de-merged with Compass Group, where their hospitality interests were transferred to Compass.[5]

Sale to Permira

In 2003, Travelodge was sold alongside Little Chef to Permira, who created parent company TLLC Group Holdings Ltd and moved Travelodge's headquarters from Toddington in Bedfordshire to Thame in Oxfordshire in June 2003.[7]

In 2004, it bought the Moat House hotel on Drury Lane for £11m, and the 'London Farringdon' and 'London Islington' Thistle hotels.[8] In July of that year, it decided to sell 136 of its hotels for £400m, then lease them back.[citation needed]

Purchase by Dubai International Capital

In August 2006, Travelodge was split from Little Chef and sold to Dubai International Capital (DIC), a United Arab Emirates-based company, for £675 million.

In mid-2010, Travelodge bought 52 Innkeeper's Lodge properties from the Mitchells & Butlers pub chain, leaving less than half the original number of Innkeeper's Lodge hotels. In 2011, Travelodge announced a tie-up with British supermarket Waitrose to develop three joint sites in the UK.[9]

Financial restructuring in 2012

In February 2012, DIC had to prepare a bailout package due to a large debt of £478 million that was added to Travelodge's balance sheet following its purchase; despite significant earnings since 2006, these could not cover the debt repayments and the company recorded a debt of £517m in 2011.[10] The company undertook a financial restructure during April 2012, with ownership passing to New York-based hedge funds GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group, as well as Goldman Sachs.[11] On 17 August 2012 Travelodge UK confirmed[12] that the financial restructuring would be through a company voluntary arrangement which would include:

However, Travelodge also stated that it was no longer viable to operate 49 hotels (8% of the estate), for which the company would now seek new operators.

Hotels transferred to other hotel operators include Edinburgh Belford transferred to Britannia Hotels, Blackpool transferred to Ibis, Huddersfield, Liphook and Walsall transferred to Metro Inns, and Bolton Services, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Haymarket, Manchester Airport, Manchester Worsley and Wentbridge transferred to independent operators. Travelodge's hotels in Coventry and Sutton Scotney (North and South) were closed.

Travelodge UK also operate eleven hotels in the Republic of Ireland and five hotels in Spain.

A Travelodge at Leeds Bradford Airport
A Travelodge at Leeds Bradford Airport

Controversies

Overbooking

In 2006, the BBC programme Watchdog highlighted Travelodge's policy of overbooking their hotels, turning guests away even when they have booked against a credit card, which included leaving customers stranded late at night with nowhere to sleep.[13] In 2018, Watchdog Live on The One Show returned to the issue, with further examples of Travelodge failing to provide rooms on arrival to customers with 'guaranteed' bookings.[14]

The issue has been widely reported in subsequent years across the media,[15][16][17] highlighting that Travelodge would oversell expensive hotels, and then relocate travellers to cheaper alternatives in less desirable locations, yet not refund the difference. A report by The Guardian highlighted that customers were at risk of having nowhere to sleep even though they had pre-paid for their rooms, and that Travelodge offers no compensation for customers who are affected.[18]

A report in The Mirror claimed the practice was a breach-of-contract by Travelodge.[19]

Plymouth advertising

To advertise its new location in Plymouth in 2004, Travelodge ran a poster campaign using the phrase "Other hotels in Plymouth fleece you, we prefer duvets" which was not well received by other hotels in the area and was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.[20]

Eviction of homeless families

In March 2020 The Guardian reported that Travelodge gave homeless families and key workers only two hours’ notice to leave when it shut 360 of its UK hotels in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Although the government had told hotels to close, this did not apply to those accommodating key workers or homeless people.[21]

David and Jean Davidson's stay

In 2007, media around the world reported that David and Jean Davidson, a retired couple originally from Sheffield, had stayed at Travelodges in Newark, Worksop and Grantham for a combined total of 22 years, making each lodge their home.[22] The retired banker and naval sailor and his wheelchair-using wife found the cost of their stay comparable with living in a house, but with the benefits of housekeeping service and without added costs such as council tax or utilities.[23]

References

  1. ^ a b "About Us | Travelodge". Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Travelodge Hotels Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 13 June 2011
  3. ^ Through sister company, Travelodge Hoteles Espana SL (Spain), as reported in Endell Group Holdings Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 3 March 2011
  4. ^ Thomas, Nathalie (17 August 2012). "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring". Daily Telegraph, London.
  5. ^ a b "Travelodge". Motorway Services Online. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Compass sells Little Chef and Travelodge". BBC. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Compass sells Little Chef and Travelodge". BBC. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  8. ^ "Travelodge now offers even more low-cost central London hotel rooms - room rates start at just £45 in central London - Travelodge opens Travelodge London Islington and Travelodge London Farringdon" (Press release). Travelodge. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Travelodge and Waitrose in tie-up". 28 November 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. ^ Ruddick, Graham (20 February 2012). "Travelodge pulled down by £100m debt finance bill". Retrieved 24 April 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  11. ^ Clarey, James. "Dubai-owned Travelodge swaps CEO amid restructure – HotelierMiddleEast.com". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  12. ^ Press Release. "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring and initiates a Company Voluntary Arrangement". Travelodge UK. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Travelodge". BBC Consumer. BBC. 24 October 2006. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Watchdog researchers booked three rooms at a Travelodge in London. Each went to check in late at night but well within Travelodge's terms and conditions. All were told the hotel was full and that, despite their bookings, there were no rooms available.
  14. ^ "Overbooked Hotels". The One Show. BBC. 18 April 2018.
  15. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (29 May 2018). "'My Travelodge room for the marathon was a non-starter'". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Morris, Hugh (15 February 2018). "Do hotels really overbook their rooms?". The Telegraph. One customer was on the sharp end of an overbooking at a Travelodge recently after being told that the branch in which the room had been paid for in advance was now full, so a bed would be found at a nearby property.
  17. ^ Brignall, Miles (5 September 2015). "On your bike, Travelodge! Why did you let my room go to someone else?". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Tims, Anna (15 February 2018). "Why won't Travelodge honour my pre-booking?".
  19. ^ Dunham, Dean (22 April 2018). "Are hotels allowed to cancel bookings without notice? Your rights as Travelodge 'overbooks' dozens of rooms". The Mirror.
  20. ^ "Poster campaign angers hoteliers". BBC News. 8 September 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Government clashes with Travelodge after homeless told to leave". The Guardian. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  22. ^ Stokes, Paul (12 September 2007). "Telegraph". News. London: The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 14 September 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007. Pensioners David and Jean Davidson found living in a Travelodge hotel was a cheaper option than an old people's home and have never looked back.
  23. ^ Stokes, Paul (11 September 2007). "Pensioners lived in a Travelodge for 22 years". Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2017.