|Type||Private limited company|
|Headquarters||Thame, England, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|over 570 hotels in UK (2019)|
11 hotels in Ireland (2010)
5 hotels in Spain (2010)
Republic of Ireland
|Revenue||£637.1m (2018)|
| £153.5m (EBITDAR)|
£48.5m (EBITDA) (2010)
|Total assets||£888.4m (net) (2010)|
|Owner||GoldenTree Asset Management, Avenue Capital Group and Goldman Sachs|
Number of employees
|11,000 (full and part-time) (2011)|
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.
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. 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. In 1988, the two chains were combined and rebranded to become "Forte Travelodge".
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.
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.
In 2004, it bought the Moat House hotel on Drury Lane for £11m, and the 'London Farringdon' and 'London Islington' Thistle hotels. In July of that year, it decided to sell 136 of its hotels for £400m, then lease them back.
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.
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. 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. On 17 August 2012 Travelodge UK confirmed 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.
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. 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.
The issue has been widely reported in subsequent years across the media, 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.
A report in The Mirror claimed the practice was a breach-of-contract by Travelodge.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.