Travelodge is poised to unveil a £10 million brand relaunch, according to a weekend report.
The budget chain will reveal a fresh image in the spring – the latest part of a recovery plan under new owners GoldenTree Asset Management, Avenue Capital and Goldman Sachs.
The relaunch will be accompanied by a £10 million TV advertising campaign, the hotelier’s first since it staved off administration by reducing rents and offloading sites through a company voluntary arrangement with landlords in autumn 2012.
The CVA accompanied a rescue deal which saw the new owners gain control from Dubai International Capital after Travelodge struggled to keep up with interest payments on its debt, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Travelodge chairman Brian Wallace told the newspaper: “Travelodge happened to go through an unfortunate ownership period, but the truth is it’s a great brand – everyone has heard of it.
“Across the whole of the UK we have got an enormous footprint which cannot be replicated. Clearly Premier Inn [had a strong footprint] but nobody is going to come into the UK and say: ‘Let’s compete with Travelodge and let’s open 500 hotels’.”
Wallace compared the low-cost hotel sector to airlines such as easyJet, which are continuing to see robust growth.
“I think there has been a behavioural shift,” he said. “If I go back 10 years, if I had said to the people I worked with in the UK at that time ‘Go off on a business trip to Edinburgh’, they would have said ‘OK, I’ll stay at the Hilton’.
“If I had said ‘No, go and stay at the Travelodge or the Premier Inn’, they would have turned their noses up.
“They would have done it, but they wouldn’t have been keen, whereas now it’s completely acceptable, especially with the product we are offering and they service we give – it’s a very good product.”
The brand relaunch will be one of the first major projects unveiled by new chief executive Peter Gowers, former boss of Safestore, who previously spent 12 years in the leisure industry, including working for InterContinental Hotels Group.
Gowers took over in November from Grant Hearn, who stepped down after securing the group’s future through the debt refinancing.
Travelodge, the biggest chain in London, expects to open 14 hotels this year. It believes there is still strong demand for low-cost branded hotels in the capital’s suburbs and boroughs.
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