Forty-one-year-old Gowers will begin his role on 25 November, with Hearn remaining in the post for a further two weeks to assist the changeover.
Gowers is no stranger to the hospitality industry, having previously been chief executive of the Asia-Pacific region for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), overseeing more than 250 hotels with 60,000 hotel employees.
Speaking of this now appointment, Gowers said he was ‘delighted to be returning to the hotel industry’.
“Travelodge is an iconic hotel brand and I am hugely excited by the opportunity to lead such a great business,” he said. “I look forward to working with the excellent team already in place to build on our current momentum and further grow the Travelodge brand.”
Travelodge’s chief executive Brian Wallace added: “I am delighted to welcome Peter as the new CEO of Travelodge. Peter is a highly regarded senior executive, with extensive industry and market experience and expertise.
“His skills and knowledge will be a great asset in helping to further grow our business and to make Travelodge the best value hotel chain in the UK.”
Gowers’ predecessor, Hearn, joined Travelodge in 2003 as chief executive, after previously working for Hilton UK & Ireland. He led the budget operator from 2003 until July 2010 when he was appointed to the position of chairman. He was then asked by the Travelodge board to return as chief executive in April last year; to oversee the company’s financial restructuring programme.
“Since joining Travelodge in 2003, Grant has done a tremendous job in more than doubling the size of the company's portfolio and establishing the brand as a household name with an exceptional digital presence,” added Wallace.
“Grant has built a remarkable team that, led by Peter, will now take the business on to even greater levels of success driven by meeting and exceeding guest expectations. On a personal level, I am extremely grateful for Grant's support since I became chairman earlier this year.”
Travelodge opened its first hotel in 1985 and today operates 521 hotels across the UK, Ireland and Spain. This year, the brand is benefiting from a £223m investment to help further grow its business. As part of this expenditure, £57 million is being spent on refurbishing the Travelodge estate. By autumn 2014, over 80 per cent of Travelodge rooms will have been refurbished in line with the company’s new room design.
Speaking of the future of Travelodge, Hearn added: “With Brian’s extensive experience of the hotel industry, I believe the Travelodge brand will continue to grow from strength to strength. “Exciting plans lie ahead for the business and for the new chief executive, who will drive this next phase of development and growth.”