It might possibly be the first hotel room I’ve stayed in which had a ‘disco lighting’ option but it was typical of this Point A hotel, which was full of quirky, thoughtful and useful touches.
From basket case to billion pound business, Travelodge has undergone a remarkable turnaround in just three short years. The chain was on the brink of collapse with a debt mountain of £635 million in 2012. But last week its owners – led by Goldman Sachs – put the chain up for sale with an expected £1 billion price tag.
[Note: my interview with Travelodge ceo Peter Gowers was just published in 2015 so some of the details will now be out of date]
Small wonder that Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers, who has led the turnaround, looks cheerful as he lounges in one of the rooms at the London Waterloo Travelodge hotel. It took a £100 million programme, but Travelodge recorded sales of £497 million last year, with underlying profits jumping 63.5 per cent to £66.2 million and sales are continuing to grow this year.
‘It was a huge opportunity to turn round a fantastic brand that had been through some challenging times,’ says Gowers, who joined Travelodge at the end of 2013 from self-storage company Safestore.