For those of you who enjoy staying in a Travelodge hotel there’s good news this morning (Saturday 24 October). If you like, we can name you. That’s you Dennis from Kirkham, ‘Frisbee’ from Swansea, and you Lasna from a little village near Truro. For the rest of us we have the conversation with the office:
“I need to stay over in Birmingham tomorrow night. I’ve left it late, so I’ll take anything.”
”There’s a Travelodge with space close to the Bull Ring.”
“Anything else? Anything ... I’m desperate.”
Travelodge is an institution in Britain, and for those of you who have been to an institution in Britain you know exactly what we mean. Faded multi-colour throw at the foot of the bed, minuscule handbasin, two sachets of tea on a plastic tray and woman running up and down the corridor all night crazily shouting, “Cristiano, Cristiano? ...”. All of which proved too good to miss for Nick Leslau’s Secure Income Reit, which leases 123 hotels to the budget hotel chain and which said that it had decided not to exercise a break clause to terminate Travelodge’s leases and that it had halted a parallel sale process for the properties.
The landlords had previously been very unimpressed with the CVA which had led to a slash in the rent they received at many of the chain’s properties, but have agreed that Travelodge is still the ‘best-in-class operator’ in the low-cost accommodation sector, which disappointed a bed and breakfast in Margate run by Sandra who thought that that the two room shed conversion in her back garden was ‘best-in-class’ in that sector.
The alternative for Travelodge was seeing a rival operator cherry pick the best of their properties and set up in opposition. One such company is starting the rival budget chain AGO (the long and less catchy version of which is, ‘This Is What People Could Expect When Staying In Hotels Seventy Years AGO’), but Travelodge remain the second biggest provider of ‘budget hotel accommodation’ in these fair isles, owned (amongst others) by Goldman Sachs whose internal travel and accommodation policy allegedly does not allow their colleagues to stay in the hotels, unless they have been very, VERY bad.