Travelodge targets council land in expansion plan

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The chain, which operates more than 550 UK hotels, wants to build around 100 new outlets over the next five years.

As part of these plans, Travelodge is looking to partner with local authorities, which are increasingly in need of funding. 

Speaking to Construction News, Travelodge’s UK property director Tony O’Brien revealed the business had already secured meetings with 30 UK councils to discuss potential projects. The firm has written to 210 councils about its plans. 

“Our target is to build 20 a year for the next four or five years,” he said. “And these kinds of deals add another string to the bow.

“We’ve landed meetings with 30 councils already to discuss opportunities and funding structures.”  

Mr O’Brien said the chain was proposing a range of flexible packages that included agreements for Travelodge to pay local authorities a regular fee as opposed to selling the land outright.

He added that Travelodge could act as the developer if need be to get projects under way. 

“We are willing to act as development manager for the council, if they need it, without taking a development fee.

“Sometimes councils will have a pre-existing relationship with a developer, but often they won’t. So if they want someone to work on a developer relationship we can offer that too.

“Councils are not looking to sell assets because they have to release those funds back to central government. If they can keep hold of the land they can keep the funding.”

Travelodge envisages most schemes being built in urban areas or on the edge of town through regional developers and medium-sized finance firms.

Mr O’Brien said the hotelier had been encouraged to press ahead with the initiative following the successful completion of several projects using this development model.

“We think it’s a smart move for all concerned – for us, the council, the investor and the developer,” he said.