Hearn made the announcement at the opening of a new 131-bedroom Travelodge hotel in Bethnal Green.
“Opening new hotels is undoubtedly one of the best parts of my job,” Hearn said, as he prepared to cut the ribbon on the new venue.
“Opening a new hotel here is a particularly great part of my job – my Mother was born in Bethnal Green,” he revealed.
“It reaffirms our position as London’s largest hotelier. We have about 59 hotels now with 7,000 rooms.”
Revealing that the capital is not only a key part of the Travelodge business but actually represents 30-40 per cent of its profits, Hearn explained the company would open three more London hotels in 2013 – Hounslow, Walthamstow and Vauxhall.
“We still believe that London has a real undersupply of good, reasonably-priced accommodation,” he continued.
“We are looking for another 145 hotels in the boroughs of London – six in Tower Hamlets. We are looking at Canary Wharf, Limehouse and Shadwell.”
Hearn was reinstated as chief executive last April replacing Guy Parsons who originally took over from Hearn in 2010.
The former Hilton UK & Ireland MD helped negotiate a £635m debt restructuring deal which was announced last August and has allowed the operator to cut its debt and inject capital into the business.
The Bethnal Green opening comes at a key moment for the branded budget operator. It is planning to invest £243m in its hotels this year.
A room refurbishment scheme will see it transforming 50 rooms a day for the next 18 months. The style of the new-look bedrooms, which feature a luxury bed and larger desk area, has been created based on customer consultation.
At the time of the restructuring, Travelodge said it would be looking to dispose of 49 properties to cut its rental costs.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Hearn said that process was nearing completion.
“We see very few closures, some of them may close temporarily. There are a number where arrangements have already been put in place for new operators to run them.
“There is a very solid chance that we will end up running a number on a franchise basis, so a different basis from before,” he revealed.
Bethnal Green Travelodge is the first hotel in the operator’s portfolio to sit above a comedy club.
The club is due to launch next month completing the re-development of the site. However guests are already laughing as Travelodge has launched so-called ‘loo laughs’ – toilet rolls with jokes printed on – at the hotel.