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Travelodge Plans New Hotels

Travelodge Logo & Room PhotoTravelodge is known for its affordable city venues, but now the budget hotel chain wants to get a piece of the rural market. The company has announced plans for the opening of 37 hotels that will focus on expanding into areas around Britain’s 15 national parks – a £135 million investment that will cater to travellers searching for a countryside, budget accommodation. It already has 475 hotels across the country, Ireland and Spain, but some of the areas where the property team will focus their efforts include Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia, Minehead in Exmoor, Aviemore in Cairngorms and Grasmere in the Lake District.

Although most of its hotels are located in cities, Travelodge has rural locations as well. It says the venues near national parks have had higher occupancy this year than usual. Some of the most popular are Scarborough in the North Yorkshire Moors, Barnstaple in Exmoor, Cockermouth in the Lake District and Porthmadog in Snowdonia. Guy Parsons, the chief executive of the chain, says more Brits are taking staycations. Instead of a city or coastal breaks, more have decided to explore the UK and rediscover holiday hotspots, and it’s clear they want to make their rural daycations staycations instead to make the most of their breaks. Because of this, the company has seen a substantial surge in countryside holidays, he added.

The 37 new venues will range in size from 30 rooms to more than 100, which will depend on the building requirements and location. It’s anticipated that the investment will create over 500 jobs throughout the country. The hotel chain has recently exchanged contracts with a Glossop hotel in the Peak District as part of the development. This is also part of the company’s strategy to grow its portfolio to 100,000 rooms in 1,100 hotels by 2025. It currently has a portfolio of 33,502 rooms and a more than 6,000-strong workforce.

Targeting National Parks, where 60 million Brits holiday every year, is groundbreaking for the group, which claims to be the fastest growing hotel chain in the nation. It has already made a quick invasion into the budget market since it was launched in 1985. This has caused some concern among the sector that it’s close to becoming a monopoly, as just under 20% of its rooms are in London – 62% are in major cities and 20% are roadside or motorway locations. The company reported having 13 million guests last year, which is 12% more than in 2009.

Although this will mean more job opportunities and business to these areas, there are mixed feelings about the Travelodge expansion. The National Trust is cautious of the plans, with Joanna Royle, the head of marketing in the North East, saying each location will need to be considered in the local context. There is an opportunity for sensitive growth and a chance to achieve this with the right safeguards in place and positive planning, she added.

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