Belfast Telegraph

Travelodge winning customers looking for ‘premium economy’ rooms

The budget hotel chain revealed visitors want a bit more luxury, as profits and sales jump.

Travelodge’s London City Hotel (Travelodge/PA)
Travelodge’s London City Hotel (Travelodge/PA)

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

Hotel chain Travelodge is cashing in on business travellers and budget-conscious holidaymakers looking for a bit more luxury, according to the company’s latest results.

The business revealed that its “super rooms” and “budget chic” Travelodge Plus hotels have been supremely popular, comparing them with airlines which offer premium economy seating.

Launched just two years ago, the super rooms are now in 50 Travelodge hotels, with 1,800 planned by the end of the year, and include coffee pod machines, ironing boards and irons, along with more food and drink choices.

Travelodge wants to win over customers who want a little bit more luxury. (Travelodge / PA)

Bosses said the popularity has helped sales jump 6% to £337.3 million in the six months to June 30. Underlying pretax profits were up £1.1 million to £44.7 million.

Occupancy levels rose from 75.5% to 77.9%, helped by the average cost of a room falling from £51.06 to £49.78 a night. Revenue per available room – a key measure for the sector – was up 0.6% to £38.78.

Chief executive Peter Gowers added that the firm was on target to open 17 new hotels this year, with ten launched in the first six months.

The new sites are expected to create about 300 new jobs, bringing the total to 584 sites.

He said: “We’ve been investing in greater choice for customers while maintaining our reputation for low prices, helping us attract more and more people looking to make their travel money go further in these uncertain times.”

Travelodge also spent £12 million on hotel refits in the period, including adding LED lights to rooms, which bosses hope will cut energy bills.

USB ports are also being added to bedside tables for phone charging, and pull-out beds are being upgraded.

But despite the strong growth, Mr Gowers was cautious on the outlook, particularly with the ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

The company said: “There are well-known cost pressures impacting the wider hospitality and leisure sector. We therefore remain cautious on the short-term outlook.

“The outcome of the current Brexit discussions and the resulting position after 31 October will clearly have an impact on market conditions in the short term.”