Nostalgic look back to 1985 as new hotel opens in Burton-upon-Trent. Almost three decades after opening its very first hotel in the UK, Travelodge is going back to where it all started with the opening of its latest hotel in Burton-upon-Trent. The opening is a real moment of nostalgia for Travelodge, as the Staffordshire town is the location of the group’s very first hotel, Travelodge Burton A48 Northbound, which opened in 1985.
To mark the special occasion, Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central was officially opened by the Mayor of East Staffordshire, Cllr Len Milner, and Judy Harper, a receptionist at Travelodge who started working at the hotel on its very first day of business, and who still works there 27 years later.
That very first Travelodge, which was also the UK’s first budget hotel, was opened next to the Little Chef on the A38 a bid to provide motorists with a bed and breakfast offering.
Since those early days, the hotel group has undergone radical transformation, opening more than 500 hotels, and moving from being a roadside hotel chain to becoming one of the UK’s largest, fastest growing and most highly recognised budget hotel brands. The hotel group now has more than 36,000 rooms and employs over 6,000 people.
Back in 1985, rooms were available from £24.50 and in a sign of how Travelodge has remained steadfast to its promise of keeping room prices low, rooms in Burton-upon-Trent are now available from £19. With inflation rising an average of 3.5% a year over that period, rooms would start from £60.90 today if you take inflation into account.
During those 27 years, other everyday items have soared in price. A first class stamp was 17p compared to 60p today, and a ticket to the cinema was just £1.70, rather than the £6 you’d be expected to pay today.
In June 1985, the month that Travelodge opened its first hotel, ‘The Crowd’ were top of the charts with their recording of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud and the US swimmer Michael Phelps were born, and French agents blew up Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior near New Zealand.
Today, Travelodge.co.uk is the UK’s fastest selling hotel website and regularly takes up to four bookings a second at peak times, but in 1985 the internet was a much quieter place, with only 2,000 IP addresses connected to the web.
Judy Harper, Travelodge receptionist who will open Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central said:
“I couldn’t believe it when I was asked to open the new hotel, I thought someone might be winding me up. It is such a privilege to open a Travelodge hotel after all these years working for the company and I’m very honoured. I’ve seen a lot in 27 years working for Travelodge but I never thought I’d get to do something like this.
Burton-upon-Trent Central Travelodge is a 68-room hotel, located in the iconic Midlands Grain Warehouse which was built by the former Midland Railway Company in the late 19th Century. The Grade-II building was originally used to transfer grain from the railways to nearby breweries, and had been empty since 2008 after East Staffordshire Council moved offices.
The hotel represents a £3.6m investment for the area, and has created 16 new jobs. The new team includes hotel manager, Melissa Wilson, 23, who has worked for the company since 2005, working her way up the ladder and completing the Travelodge Management Development Programme after joining as a receptionist in Liverpool Central.
Melissa’s new team has been recruited via the Job Centre Plus Scheme – which helps the long term unemployed back into work. As part of their induction training staff members undertook a comprehensive four week training programme at a nearby Travelodge hotel. They also attended a sleep seminar to ensure they are fully equipped to ensure their customers get a good night’s sleep.
Melissa Wilson, Burton-upon-Trent Central Travelodge’s hotel manager said:
“It is an honour to manage a Travelodge hotel in Burton-upon-Trent, as everyone in the company knows the importance that the town play in our history. By attracting new visitors to Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central we will boost the local economy by £1.1 million*. As our research shows the average Travelodge customer will spend on average £36 a day in local shops, restaurants and bars during their stay.”
Mayor of East Staffordshire, Cllr Len Milner, said:
“It’s wonderful to see Travelodge coming home to Burton-upon-Trent, and continuing to invest in the town. The brand has had an incredibly successful 27 years, and we’re proud that it all started here.
“As more and more people look to stay in the UK it is important that Burton-upon-Trent is able to provide visitors with a choice of affordable and modern accommodation – which is what the new Travelodge will bring to our town. As I’ve seen today from meeting the staff, the new Travelodge hotel is providing much needed employment opportunities for the community and is a real shot in the arm for the town.”
Burton-upon-Trent Central is one of 41 Travelodge hotels opening this year and creating over 1,000 jobs.
A Travelodge family room caters for either two adults and two children or three adults. Each room has en-suite facilities with eco-friendly showers, a flat screen TV with 18 free digital channels, free tea and coffee making facilities and Wi-Fi.