Travelodge looks to double hotel openings

The budget hotel chain Travelodge, which is in talks with the leisure and hospitality group Whitbread over a potential £3bn merger, yesterday said it would double the number of new hotels opened this year.

The group, which operates 330 sites including a new 297-room hotel near Heathrow's Terminal 5, said it was preparing to open 44 UK sites during 2008, compared with 23 last year.

The group also reported a 20 per cent rise in annual revenues. Turnover in London soared by 32 per cent in 2007 to help overall turnover rise to £243.8m for the year, with underlying earnings up 30 per cent to £55.8m. Whitbread, which owns Premier Inns, is understood to have held early stage discussions with Travelodge over creating an 800-strong budget hotel chain.