08 March 2007 by

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UK's first budget hotel brand when it opened its first venue in Britian in the 1980s. It it is now the UK's second largest player in the limited-service sector (after Whitbread's Premier Travel Inn) and, by bedroom numbers, it is the country's third biggest hotel operator. > It currently operates around 300 hotels with 20,000 bedrooms (including a handful of properties in Spain) in city centres, airports and roadsides and serves more than six million customers a year. You can view their locations on Knowcal >>]( The privately-owned company was bought in 2006 by Dubai International Capital, but it has passed through a number of hands since it was founded during the 1930s in the USA (where the brand is now owned by Cendant Corporation). Forte bought the brand back in 1973 and the first UK Travelodge was opened in Staffordshire in 1985 by Alan Hearn, cousin of the present Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn. Subsequent owners have included Granada, contract caterer Compass and venture capital firm Permira. The group has a long association with the UK's largest roadside restaurant chain, Little Chef, which became part of Forte in 1970. The link was severed in 2005 when Permira sold the 233-strong restaurant chain a year before it exited its investment in Travelodge.  In a bid to woo the one-third of Briton's who do not stay in UK hotels and the 85% who view domestic breaks as too dear, the group has priced 1.8 million bedrooms at just £26 a night for 2007.  Travelodge is a vociferous opponent of the proposed bed tax on hotels and collected 90,000 signatures from customers to lobby against the move.   Latest news on Travelodge  [Travelodge to open £3m hotel in Salisbury >>](  [Online shopping facility unveiled by Travelodge >>](  [Travelodge set to open opposite Newcastle United's football ground >>](  [Time to change perception of hospitality >>](  [Budget hotel chain Travelodge launches training programme >>](  [TV show reveals Travelodge deliberately overbooks guests >>](  [Private equity firm BC Partners to bid up to £750m for Travelodge? >>](   Features on Travelodge  [Overbooking - a balancing act for the budget chains >>](   News comments  [Lie down and be counted >>]( Â
- ![150 deep]( - ![](
- Grant Hearn Chief executive - Travelodge Covent Garden
 Travelodge Timeline -
1939: Travelodge is founded in the USA by businessman Scott King
1973: Trusthouse Forte buys Travelodge International Inc.
1985: The first Travelodge opens in the UK at Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire.
1996: Granada Group acquires Travelodge as part of its £3.87b hostile takeover of Forte.
July 2000: Travelodge becomes part of contract caterer Compass following its £1b merger with Granada (the two companies demerge in February 2001).
February 2003: Venture capital firm Permira buys the 220-strong Travelodge chain, along with 368 Little Chef roadside restaurants, for £712m.
October 2004: Travelodge sells its freehold estate of 135 hotels to Prestbury Hotels in a £400m sale-and-leaseback deal.
August 2006:Dubai International Capital acquires Travelodge for £675m.
 [Travelodge company profile on CatererSearch >>]( []( ÂKey personalities at Travelodge  [Grant Hearn to serve on skills body for London >>](  [Grant Hearn warns local authorities of a consumer backlash over bed tax >>](  [Travelodge appoints new director of property and development >>](  [Grant Heart profile from the CatererSearch 100 >>](  [Grant Hearn wants to hear from YOU! >>](   Travelodge financial information  [Travelodge on Google Finance >>](  [Travelodge on Yahoo Finance >>](   Bed tax campaign - ![]( [Report reveals disastrous cost of bed tax >>](  [Hospitality and tourism team up to fight bed tax >>](  [CatererSearch Say no to bed tax campaign >>](   Links to blog posts on Travelodge: Caterer Blog  [Grant Hearn wants to hear from YOU! >>](  [Dopey, Sleepy and H-y]( >>  [Has the BHA woken up >>](   Reviews  [Travelodge reviews on TripAdviser >>](  [Travelodge reviews on Dooyoo >>](   Travelodge on the web  [Travelodge official website >>](  [Travelodge on Wikipedia >>](  [BBC Watchdog report on overbooking >>](  [Travelodge response to Watchdog overbooking accusations >>
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