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Client 2: Travelodge

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Tony O'Brien, UK development director

Two years ago, Travelodge outlined an aggressive growth strategy, aiming to control more than 10 per cent of the UK hotel market by 2020.

This means increasing its build rate from 25,000 bedrooms to 70,000 bedrooms a year, and, if anything, the downturn has provided the business with more opportunities.

‘Our trading figures remain pretty robust, and we’re viewing the current economic situation as throwing up opportunities,’ says UK development director Tony O’Brien.

‘The crash in the residential market has meant that there are some locations that, in previous years, would have been developed by residential developers, but are now coming to us.

‘We’re seeing developers sell off parts of their land to us – [land] which was meant to be for the second or third phases of residential developments. We’re even seeing developers sell at the front end.’

Last month, Travelodge announced a partnership with Aldi supermarkets, and the two ‘value-focused’ companies are buying up land on the cheap.

Buoyed by an influx of businesspeople as companies ‘trade down from three and four-star hotels’, new areas are opening up to Travelodge, meaning more prospects for architects.

‘Where it’s a developer-led project there will be direct opportunities for architects – it is up to them and the developer. If we’re leading the development then these are design-and-build [contracts], and it is up to the contractor,’ says O’Brien.

The downturn has also opened up specialised work. According to O’Brien, independent hotels will struggle in the next 12-18 months. ‘This will require people with refurbishment and renovation skills. Our outlook is that no business is recession-proof, but we’re hoping to be recession-resilient.’

How to bag this client: Get to know Travelodge’s favoured contractors or start meeting the development arms of supermarket chains

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