Budget hotel chain Travelodge has opened its 400th property in London’s Waterloo. The 279-room hotel is located on Waterloo Road, a few minutes’ walk from Waterloo station, and is part new build, part conversion.
The property is Travelodge’s 34th in the capital and the group intends to open a further 18 in Greater London by the 2012 Olympics, totalling more than 7,000 rooms.
At the hotel’s official launch yesterday, presided over by mayor of London Boris Johnson, Travelodge chief executive Guy Parsons told Business Traveller: “We’re due to open ten more hotels this year across the UK, and that will be about 2,000 rooms. We opened about 2,000 rooms last year, next year will be at least 2,500, maybe more, and it will be similar amount in 2012.
“We have 15,000 rooms sitting in our pipeline at the moment. The majority will be in city centres and increasingly in London. Our plan is to get to 70,000 rooms in total by 2020 – we’re currently at about 28,500. That would give us a 10 per cent share of the UK hotel market.”
Parsons said he had noticed an increase in the amount of business travellers using the brand as a result of the recession. “Business for us is only 35 per cent of our sales – the majority is still leisure based,” he said. “But what we’ve seen during the recession is a number of big companies mandating that budget hotels are the only things people can now get signed off.
“And I genuinely think this recession will to some extent do for budget hotels what the catastrophic events of 9/11 did for the budget airline industry, because people are being forced to use budget hotels when they might not have done before.”
The Waterloo property features Travelodge’s signature Bar Café facility, while rooms have wifi (charges start from £5 an hour) and small flatscreen TVs with Freeview.
Parsons said the group was due to open a hotel “right in the heart of the City of London” next year, with another property under development in Shoreditch.
Visit travelodge.co.uk for more information.
Report by Michelle Mannion