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31/01/12 1000 New Jobs - Travelodge to open 41 hotels

The UK’s fastest growing hotel company, Travelodge, has announced its opening 41 hotels (3610 rooms) this year and creating 1,000 new jobs across the UK.

These new properties, at an investment of £246 million, will boost the company’s estate to 537 hotels and over 39,000 rooms.

Eleven of the 41 new Travelodge’s opening this year are located in London - further cementing the company’s position as the biggest hotelier in the Capital. Included in these openings is Travelodge’s 500th hotel at Stratford which is scheduled to open this February. Half of these London properties will be open before the end of July, including London Greenwich and London Excel Centre.

These 41 new hotel openings will create 880 new jobs across the country. In addition to these positions, Travelodge is also creating a further 120 new apprenticeship places on its successful Junior Management Programme (JuMP) which was launched last year.

The bespoke JuMP scheme was developed to support Travelodge’s aggressive growth strategy and to help Britain’s unemployed youngsters back into work. It also offers school leavers an alternative career choice, to going to university. The fast track management programme provides a real job, with the opportunity of on the job training throughout the business, combined with further education and the opportunity to earn up to £30,000 and to become a hotel manager in three years. In contrast to going to university and graduating with a debt of £43,224* and facing an over crowded jobs market.

In addition to its apprenticeship scheme, Travelodge also has an in-house 12 week fast track management programme to help create managers to support its aggressive growth strategy.

Guy Parsons, Travelodge Chief Executive said: "We are delighted to be opening even more new hotels and creating even more new jobs this year compared to 2011. Despite the ongoing tough economic climate, Travelodge is continuing to open hotels at a faster rate than anyone else and create much needed jobs; which is exactly what the British economy needs right now.

The demand for good quality budget accommodations is growing at such pace across the country, that we have added 146 new UK locations to our target requirements list. Therefore we can build more hotels in the locations where consumers need them.

Our ability to raise finance means that we are able to move quickly when other companies remain strangled by red tape. This, coupled with our ability to be flexible and innovative in terms of the development schemes we can undertake, ensures we are in a very strong position to achieve our growth target of having 1,000 hotels by 2020."

The ability of Travelodge to capitalise on the opportunities provided by its own strong trading position and the continued weakness in the property markets is greatly helped by its flexible development model. Last year, Travelodge announced its ‘Metrolodge’ strategy, which will see it taking smaller properties in sought after locations and office buildings across the UK.

It has also successfully secured development sites by working together with companies such as: supermarket brands - Morrisons, Waitrose and Tesco. Pub companies such as Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoons, Greene King and other brands which includes: Top Shop, Kentucky Fried Chicken, , Wilkinson Stores and Toyota.

This means that both out of town and city centre locations are becoming more viable and enable Travelodge to review locations that previously would not have been affordable for hotel development.

Notably, of the 146 locations, 65 of them are located within the Greater London area. This reflects the demand for affordable hotel rooms not just in prime central areas such as Liverpool Street, Covent Garden, Old Street and Tower Hill but London suburbs such as Hornchurch, Ruislip and Morden. Travelodge is already the largest hotel brand in the Capital with 43 hotels and 5,958 rooms.
In addition to the focus on London, the new target list also supports the growing Staycation trend and four new locations have been added in the Lake District as well coastal destinations such as Hove, Peterhead and Newhaven.

Travelodge outperforms the hospitality sector:

New independent research from Customer Service Benchmarking Ltd. has shown that Travelodge significantly outperforms the hospitality sector.

Customer Benchmarking Ltd. visited every Travelodge hotel across the UK and measured performance against a number of criteria such as warmth, welcome, interest, confidence and value. The scores were then compared to the benchmark standard to see how Travelodge measured up to the competition.

Travelodge’s average score was an outstanding 89.9 per cent compared to a hospitality sector benchmark of just 76.51 per cent. Travelodge achieved over 80 per cent in every category and over 90 per cent in the categories of warmth, knowledge and interest

Travelodge performed better than the hospitality sector against every single measurement, with results in some categories differing by almost 20 percentage points. It also scored significantly higher than its competition in the budget market which, as a whole, failed to score 80 per cent in any category.

Significantly the budget hotel operator achieved far better results than so-called luxury hotels. Three to five star hotels (including Boutique) scored an average of just 74.8 per cent, 15 percentage points less than Travelodge.

Guy Parsons, Travelodge Chief Executive said: “We have always focused on providing good customer service but we wanted to gain a genuine understanding of what customers thought of our product and to obtain feedback to how we compared to the rest of the industry. Customer Service Becncharking Ltd enabled us to measure the emotional experience of our guests rather than just evaluating our processes.

"Performing as well as we did proves that if people choose a budget option it doesn’t mean that they will receive poorer customer service. On the contrary, we are outperforming the more expensive options in the market."


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