|Headquarters||El Cajon, California, U.S.|
Number of locations
Number of employees
|Website||Travelodge United States|
Travelodge (formerly TraveLodge) refers to several hotel chains around the world. Current operations include: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. However, many of these are operated by independent companies who have no connection with the brand in other countries.
The Travelodge brand was one of the first motel chains in the United States. It was established by the original Travelodge Corporation's founder, Scott King, in 1939 with the opening of the chain's first motels in Southern California. The first TraveLodge opened in San Diego in 1940. For many years, Travelodge was headquartered in El Cajon, California, east of San Diego. During its early years, TraveLodge emphasized itself as a budget motel chain that offered functional accommodations at rates lower than other chains by shunning fancy frills in favor of functional amenities such as comfortable beds, free TV and room phones, carpeted floors, in-room coffee pots and swimming pools. TraveLodge also emphasized that its motels were centrally located in or near downtown areas in order to be convenient to local restaurants, churches, theatres, shopping areas and tourist attractions. Today, however, there are many different hotel "tiers" that Travelodge offers, from budget-priced properties to full-service high-rise hotels. Travelodge purchased the Skylight Inn of America Inn in 1987, which was founded only five years prior in Cleveland, Ohio, and Lodge Keeper Group, which operated LK and Country Hearth, in 1990.
In 1996, the Forte Group sold the Travelodge operation in North America. The trademark rights and franchise system were acquired for $39 million by HFS Inc., the owner of other hotel brands such as Days Inn and Ramada. HFS was later merged into Cendant Corporation, and Cendant's hotel services, including Travelodge, were spun off as Wyndham Worldwide in 2006.
Targeting families with children, Travelodge is best known for its mascot Sleepy Bear, a half awake teddy bear wearing a sleeping cap with his name, a robe with the Travelodge logo, and slippers. Some time ago, Travelodge would give a free toy plush bear to any child staying in the Sleepy Bear Den room, of which every Travelodge used to have at least one. Travelodge also has a brand of lower-price motels called Thriftlodge with another mascot named TJ, a freckle-faced bear with a baseball cap and a T-shirt with the Thriftlodge logo and the name TJ on it.
Sleepy Bear Den
The Sleepy Bear Den is a room decorated in Sleepy Bear material. Each room has lampshades, comforters, curtains, and posters themed after Sleepy Bear. Travelodge used to give out free toy plush "sleepy bears" to any guest staying in the Sleepy Bear Den. Extras included a VCR for which children's films could be rented in the lobby. Several Travelodge properties are doing away with the Sleepy Bear den, citing high costs in maintaining a single type of room that is not consistent with the others. Remaining Sleepy Bear Dens are disappearing during renovations, and are being converted to standard rooms.
Popular culture references
Travelodge was referenced and its logo shown in the 1993 film Dennis the Menace.
The Canadian Travelodge hotels are unusual for a Wyndham chain. Though operating under the Travelodge brand, Travelodge Canada administers the Master License for Travelodge and Thriftlodge in Canada. Travelodge Canada Corp. is owned by Superior Lodging Development TL Corporation based in Calgary, Alberta.
With over 95 properties nationwide, Travelodge is the third largest hotel chain in Canada.
Travelodge has been running in the UK since the first hotel opened at Burton Upon Trent in 1985. The company has been through several changes of ownership, and reached £1b in debts by 2008. The chain is currently being financed by Goldman Sachs and the hedge fund groups GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group.
- "Three Cleveland area firms have begun a joint venture". UPI. September 2, 1982. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A.; Rogers, Jefferson S. (1996). The Motel in America. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 156–160. ISBN 0-8018-5383-4.
- Lynne Carrier (December 21, 1995). "East Coast consortium purchases Travelodge U.S. for $167 million". San Diego Daily Transcript. – via Factiva (subscription required)
- "Natl Lodging, HFS buy Forte's North Amer Travelodge opers". Dow Jones News Service. January 23, 1996. – via Factiva (subscription required)
- "Merged HFS, CUC begin trading under new name". Wall Street Journal. December 19, 1997. – via Factiva (subscription required)
- Joseph R. Perone (August 1, 2006). "Cendant's split into 4 firms effective today". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ. – via NewsBank (subscription required)
- "Travelodge has 'complete makeover' as it focuses on families and business". Daily Telegraph. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
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