Travelodge is looking to invest £84m in 14 new hotels across port locations in the UK, creating 350 jobs.
The second largest player in the budget hotel sector announced the plans at the opening yesterday of its new Southampton West Quay hotel (pictured). The company said it wants to capitalise on the recent growth which has been seen in the ferry and cruise markets.
Travelodge now has three hotels in Southampton, including the recent opening of the 94-bedroom Southampton West Quay, which cost £6m and has created 30 new jobs.
The UK is currently the number one cruise market in Europe and the second largest in the world. Figures from the Department for Transport show the number of international sea passengers rose to 22.4 million in 2013.
Travelodge managing director, property, Paul Harvey said: "As a result of more Britons taking to the waves, we have also experienced a boom at Travelodge. Our port based hotels have seen a 9% rise in occupancy as Britons kick start their dream sea holiday by staying over in a Travelodge hotel prior to early embarkation."
He added: "To support this growing holiday trend, we are looking for a further 14 new hotel sites at UK's busiest port locations. This includes another site in Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Harwich."
James Cooper, chief executive officer, Associated British Ports, said: "The UK's ports are going through something of a renaissance at the moment with significant investments taking place across the country.
"One of the fastest growing segments has been ferry traffic as people increasingly appreciate that ferries offer better value and less hassle than the alternatives. Also add the extraordinary growth in the cruise industry in recent years and it is not surprising that demand for hotels in our ports is also increasing."
Travelodge has 516 hotels in the UK, Ireland and Spain with 48 of its properties located in the vicinity of Britain's busiest ports.