Speaking at the opening of the latest Travelodge hotel in Crawley, the group’s chief operating officer Jon Hendry Pickup told BigHospitality he was ‘delighted with the effects’ of the new room design.
“In the hotels that we’ve refitted, the customer satisfaction scores have doubled from where we were 18 months ago,” said Pickup. We’ll be at 85 per cent of all rooms by September, which is great news.
“Fortunately, the owners of our business have been really pleased with the progress we’ve made so far and they’ve put additional funding into the business so that we can accelerate the programme for the remaining 15 per cent of the estate - that’s a great vote of confidence in what we’re doing.
“The property team are deep in the midst of that planning process right now.”
Audio: Interview with Jon Hendry Pickup
West Sussex investments
The new Crawley property, which officially opened yesterday (29 January), incorporates the new design - which includes a new blue and red theming, new bathrooms and king-sized ‘Travelodge Dreamer’ beds.
The 110-room hotel represents a £7m investment and is the group’s 11th hotel in West Sussex. Three more of those properties - Gatwick Airport Central, Arundel and Horsham - are currently having the new design implemented.
Today, Travelodge has announced that two of its prominent London hotels, in Marylebone and Wembley, are to be revamped in a £2m programme – the group’s biggest refurb investment to date. By autumn of this year, 47 of Travelodge’s 60 London hotels will have been completely refitted.
Pickup also spoke about the emergence of new ‘boutique-budget’ brands such as Tune, Citizen M and, more recently, ‘Hub’ – from Travelodge’s biggest rival, Premier Inn.
“That area of the market’s always been really competitive, and Premier Inn do it well with Hub,” he said. “They’re targeting a specific, younger market and we’ll certainly keep a close eye on that.
“But they’re increasing prices in their main estate, so they have to differentiate somehow. We’re not going to turn into a different business. We’re just focussing on what customers want, and it’s working for us.”
Travelodge, which recently appointed former Safestore Holdings boss Peter Gowers as its new chief executive, now operates 513 properties across the UK. Speaking of the group’s on-going expansion plans, Pickup concluded: “We would expect to open twice as many hotels this year than we did last year.
“We’re delighted with progress – the economy seems to be moving forward steadily and there are so many opportunities for us to continue expanding.”