Recession boosts budget hotel group Travelodge

Tough economic conditions helped Travelodge enjoy a strong year during 2010 as the group benefited from budget-conscious consumers.

The hotel chain, which offers rooms from just £19 a night, had a record 13 million customers stay with it during the year - 12% more than in 2009.

It also continued its expansion programme, opening a further 70 hotels during the course of the year.

The group credited the recession with enabling it to target sites that would have been beyond its reach before the economic downturn, while it also completed a deal with pubs group Mitchells and Butlers under which it acquired 52 of its Innkeeper's Lodges.

The acquisitions saw the group continue its strategy of shifting away from roadside locations to city centre ones.

Only a fifth of its rooms are now on the edge of motorways and major roads, with 18% in London and the remaining 62% in other major towns and cities.

The group has already opened four new hotels this year, including one in Cardiff city centre, while it is building a further 36 hotels.

The latest openings mean it now operates 463 hotels, including 10 in Ireland and three in Spain, and it said it remained "well on track" to reach its target of having more than 1,100 hotels and 100,000 rooms by 2025.

Overall, sales in 2010 increased by 13% to 7.2 million rooms, with like-for-like growth up 6%, driven by an 11% rise in London.

Guy Parsons, chief executive of Travelodge, said: "Despite the tough climate in 2010, we have delivered a robust performance whilst continuing our strategic UK growth programme and demonstrating Travelodge's continued strong recovery.

"The year has started in line with management's expectations, though clearly there has been an impact on the consumer from the recent VAT increase and the fuel and energy price increases."