Despite a pre-tax loss of £56.8m (with revenue at £432.6m), the firm returned to operating profit for the first time since its near-collapse in 2012.
Travelodge has invested heavily in reviving its brand in the past year – £57m for bedroom refurbishment and £25m into a TV advertising campaign – and is now creating 206 jobs, including 126 to support the opening of six new hotels in Southampton, Llandudno, Raynes Park, Wembley, Greenwich and Egham.
The chain is also looking to recruit 40 apprentices across the country for its junior management programme (JuMP), targeted at A-level students who don’t want to go to university.
Another 40 jobs have been created at Travelodge’s head office in Thame, Oxfordshire, in the customer services, revenue management, marketing, sales, operations, IT and finance departments.
Jon Hendry Pickup, the company’s chief operating officer, said: “We are looking for highly motivated people who are passionate about delivering great customer service.
“At Travelodge we are totally committed to developing our people, and we offer a range of further education and training opportunities to help individuals climb the career ladder. Our bespoke in-house management programme offers a direct route into management, and to date over 400 Travelodge employees have graduated into a management position this way.”
In July this year, the company announced a £75m investment in the expansion of its Scottish portfolio, including the creation of 200 jobs.
Travelodge was seized by Goldman Sachs, US hedge funds GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group in 2012, through a debt-for-equity swap with Dubai International Capital.
The brand then entered into a company voluntary agreement (CVA) to offload 49 properties, which allowed it to renegotiate rents and leases across its remaining 109 hotels, and restructure its debt – which now stands at £484.5m, compared to over £1bn before the transaction.
Travelodge currently operates 513 hotels in the UK, and employs over 9,000 staff across the UK, Ireland and Spain.