Travelodge making room for 1,500 new staff through expansion

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="">Travelodge making room for 1,500 new staff through expansion</a>

Travelodge has announced plans to open 60 hotels in the UK over three years, as it looks to capitalise on potential opportunities in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The hotel chain said it was expecting to benefit from more business and holiday customers as foreign travel becomes more expensive due to the weaker pound - and more attractive to visitors from overseas.

However chief executive Peter Gowers warned of the potential impact of Brexit on a sector where 25%-30% of all employees are EU nationals from outside the UK.

Travelodge said its new hotels - on top of the 15 already planned for 2017 - would create an average of 500 jobs annually over the three-year period.

The chain made the announcement as it revealed a 4.8% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £110.1m for 2016.

It said business customers now accounted for more than half its revenue, which rose 6.8% to just under £600m.

The company, which has 543 hotels, has placed an emphasis on being a value brand to drive demand.

It said 160 premises now had on-site restaurants which, along with its business customer offering, were main factors behind its sales growth.

Mr Gowers said: "The UK is still short of good quality low-cost hotels and notwithstanding the short-term economic uncertainty, we see considerable further potential to expand our network over the years ahead, and expect to open an average of 20 hotels each year over the next three years."

But he told Sky News that nine months after the Brexit vote it still did not have any clearer picture on the impact on its workers from overseas.

He said: "We think there probably needs to be a serious discussion about a guest worker programme of some sort."

In other comments on the company's position in the wake of the referendum, he added: "Clearly the macroeconomic picture remains uncertain and there are increased cost pressures from the national living wage, business rates and other regulated cost increases.

"However, our growing brand reputation and strong development pipeline position us well to benefit from the opportunities presented by businesses looking to reduce travel costs in uncertain times and leisure travellers opting for staycations as an alternative to higher priced foreign travel."