Travelodge is celebrating the 25th anniversary of what it claims is the UK's "very first" branded budget hotel.
The company's chairman Grant Hearn unveiled a plaque at the A38 Burton Northbound Travelodge along with the hotel's longest-serving team members, Judith Harper and Joan Cable who have 25 and 23 years of service respectively.
Hearn said: "In 1985, history was made when Travelodge opened the UK's very first budget hotel on the A38 in the centre of England.
"To mark our 25th anniversary, we thought it was quite fitting to place a commemorative plaque in this hotel's reception area to highlight its place in British history; as the UK's first branded budget hotel."
"Over the last 25 years Travelodge has been the engine room for the budget sector of the UK hotel industry. Moving from being a roadside hotel chain to becoming one of the UK's largest, fastest growing and most highly recognised budget hotel brands is an achievement that everyone involved with Travelodge should be proud of."
"We will not be resting on our laurels; our target is to double our hotel size in the next decade and to have 1,000 hotels and 70,000 rooms."
Travelodge currently has 453 hotels (439 hotels in the UK, 11 in Ireland and three in Spain).
Judith Harper, 63, has worked at the A38 Burton Northbound Travelodge since the hotel opened in 1985, having previously worked in the Little Chef next door.
"I feel very proud to have seen the UK's very first budget hotel being built and to have worked in the hotel for 25 years - I have been part of history being made," she said. "The best part of my job is chatting with different customers, hearing what they have been doing and telling them about the local attractions, like Barton Marina. I have become a bit of an expert and an unofficial tourist guide for the area."
Joan Cable, 75, has worked at the hotel since 1987.She said: "I have been working at this hotel for 23 years now and I love my job. It's great interacting with different kinds of people every day. The brand is a straightforward product, you know exactly what you are getting, and today everyone has heard the name Travelodge. It wasn't like that back in 1987."
In 1985, Trusthouse Forte brought the Travelodge hotel concept over from the USA. The UK's first budget hotel was opened next to the Little Chef on the A38 (Barton under Needwood) in a bid to provide motorists with a bed and breakfast offering. A family room in 1985 was £24.50. Today a Travelodge family room starts from £19. For further information on Travelodge visit www.travelodge.co.uk
By Neil Gerrard
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