Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Guy Parsons, Travelodge

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Guy Parsons, Travelodge

Overall ranking: 14 (ranked 16 in 2010)

Hotel ranking: 4 (ranked 5 in 2010)

Guy Parsons is celebrating his first year as chief executive of Travelodge, having been promoted from managing director in July 2010. Previously Parsons has also held the sales and marketing director and chief operating officer roles at the budget hotel group. He oversees 475 hotels and over 33,000 rooms across the UK, Ireland (11) and Spain (3) but plans to more than double this to 1,000 hotels and a total of 70,000 rooms by 2020 and after that 100,000 rooms by 2025.

Guy Parsons - Career guide

Parsons graduated from Leeds University with a degree in history. His previous positions have included sales & marketing director for the Whitbread Hotel Company, marketing director for Travel Inn and director of operations, sales & marketing, for Accor.

He joined Travelodge as sales and marketing director in October 2004 from TGI Fridays where he was managing director. With more than 25 years of experience within the UK hotel industry, he became chief executive officer of Travelodge on 1 July 2010. Parsons also sits on the Travelodge board and is chair of Nescot.

Guy Parsons - What we think

Taking over from his predecessor Grant Hearn was no mean feat, but since assuming the role of CEO, Parsons has hit the ground running.

Controversially quitting the BHA as he took over, Parsons' reasoning was that the company had better opportunities to transform the hotel industry as an individual rather than via the BHA, which he described at the time as "a traditional body which represents the full hospitality sector from B&Bs to large corporate organisations".

Since then he has been involved with implementing the company's programmes to employ the long-term unemployed and open a Skills Academy at its Coventry hotel in September 2010, in conjunction with the National Skills Academy for Hospitality.

Parsons said: "I believe the hospitality industry will benefit tremendously from skills academies, ensuring it is ready to serve the influx of customers the UK will see during and after the 2012 Olympic Games."

This year also saw the launch of the UK's first Junior Management Apprenticeship programme (April 2011) targeting school leavers and offering an alternative career path to university. During the two year programme apprentices learn operational hotel skills as well as holding a management position and earning a salary.

He also had a significant victory against bitter budget rivals Premier Inn, preventing them from using the claim of being the largest hotel presence in London - and winning that accolade for Travelodge a year before its target date of the 2012 Olympics.

These achievements come as an addition to continuing the aggressive expansion strategy pursued by Hearn, with the company building 40 new hotels this year, creating over 800 new jobs and targeting a £100m, 36 site expansion programme in partnership with the UK's resurgent pub companies by 2015.

The launch of the second Mr Sleep advert in February this year shows the company hasn't lost its fun side under Parsons' direction, but his achievements in the last year show it's not lost any of its drive, aggressive expansion aims or drive for political recognition and support either.

Guy Parsons - Further information

Guy Parsons's ranking in the 2010 100 >>

Guy Parsons promoted to UK chief executive of Travelodge >>

New Travelodge chief executive pledges to employ the unemployed >>

Travelodge to quit BHA as Guy Parsons takes over >>

Travelodge launches Skills Academy >>" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Travelodge website >>

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