By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent
Travelodge is a hotel chain synonymous with towns and cities across Britain. Booking a city break? Attending a wedding? Away on a business trip? Chances are that we have all stayed in one of their 521 hotels that span across England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Spain at some point.
It started with a single customer paying £19.50 for a room in 1985. Now – 110 million visits, 25 million breakfasts and 220,000 abandoned books later – Travelodge is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Guests have enjoyed an estimated 880 million hours of sleep, 50 million sausages and 10,950 sunrises and sunsets since Britain’s first budget hotel opened – the ‘Burton A38 (Northbound) Travelodge’.
They’ve left behind a weird and wonderful array of items, including the deeds to a £2million house, the keys to a Maserati, the original wand used by Harry Potter in the hit films, a life-size Dalek and a full-scale Santa’s grotto – complete with tree and reindeer.
Starting with a team of just 10 in 1985, the company is now the UK’s largest independent hotel chain with more than 10,000 employees, 521 hotels across England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Spain. It’s also the biggest hotel brand in London and Edinburgh.
It recently underwent the biggest makeover in its history – a £100m modernisation programme including upgraded rooms designed by customers. All 38,000 beds have been replaced with a upgraded luxurious king size beds and ‘truckle’ beds have been introduced for children. Laid end-to-end, all the beds would stretch 46 miles.
Chief Executive Peter Gowers said: “This year we celebrate our 30th anniversary. It’s a great time to celebrate the terrific work that has been done over the last three decades and to look forward to the years ahead.
“Today, Travelodge is an iconic British brand, famous for offering unbeatable value and making travel affordable for everyone. The company’s success has only been possible due to the great team work that takes place every day across the business. As we look to the next 30 years, the future looks very bright. We are making really great progress on our journey to make Travelodge the favourite hotel for value. We will continue to grow our business, develop our people, open hundreds of hotels in great locations and create thousands of jobs across Britain and beyond.”
Travelodge’s 30 year history in numbers
1 hotel in 1985 (Burton A48 Northbound)
5 UK Prime Ministers since Travelodge started operating
10 Eclipses of the moon that have taken place since the company has been operating
18 Rooms at London Southgate Travelodge, the company’s smallest hotel
£19.50 Starting price in pounds for a room in 1985
£29 Starting price in pounds for a room in 2015
46 Miles that all 38,000 Travelodge beds would stretch if laid out end to end
50 Of the top 100 FTSE companies use Travelodge for their business stays
62 Hotels in London, making it the capital’s biggest hotel company
70 Per cent of rooms which sold for less than £50 last year
85 Per cent of rooms booked online at www.travelodge.co.uk (just 25 per cent when the website launched in 2001).
457 Rooms at London Covent Garden, the company’s biggest hotel
2,000 New jobs Travelodge will create through 250 new hotel openings in the next eight years
2014 Year Travelodge saw its 100 ,000,000th stay
4,000 Number of long term unemployed people who have joined Travelodge, through the company’s partnership with Job Centre Plus
65,000 Tins of paint used modernising hotels during modernisation programme in 2013 and 2014
220,000 Books left behind in hotels over 30 years
500,000 Number of people that have checked into the company’s first hotel, Burton A38 Northbound since it opened in 1985
1 million Man hours that have gone into the company’s £100m modernisation programme
8 million Evening meals served in Travelodge Bar Cafes
25 million Breakfasts served
35 million Business customer stays
50 million Sausages eaten
£100m invested in modernising hotels to create a new brand
880 million Hours of sleep experienced in total by customers over 30 years, based on an average of eight hours sleep per night