Sunday, 19 August 2012

Travelodge couple who have lived 15 years in Grantham hotel.

Travelodge, the second biggest hotel chain in the UK is debt-ridden, but fortunately has just been rescued by Goldman Sachs in a £1 billion pound deal.

Travelodge is the UK's second biggest budget hotel chain after Whitbread's Premier Inn. It rents more than 500 hotels in the UK, Ireland and Spain and employs more than 6,000 staff. Many jobs may be lost of course, but it depends on which newspaper one reads. Various reports differ and this is fascinating in itself, and a bit hard to unravel.

The Guardian and The Independent state that 49 as opposed to The Daily Mail’s 150 of the worst performing hotels could be closed.

The Mail Online has blazing headlines:

  • 1,800 jobs at risk as Travelodge axes dozens of chain's worst-performing hotels
  • Hotel chain could axe 150 sites
  • Fears mount for Travelodge's 6,000-strong workforce

Travelodge on the other hand said there were no current plans to close hotels or make job losses.
Travelodge Grantham, Lincolnshire

Nonetheless, one immediately thinks and worries about the possible plight of the famous couple David, 79, and Jean Davidson, 70, who have lived for the last 15 years in the Grantham Travelodge since it was built.  And before that they lived in the Newark Travelodge for 7 years.

They have made Travelodges famous throughout the world.

Staying in the Grantham one means that the Davidsons have no gas, electricity, water, or telephone bills to pay, nor do they need a television licence,. They don’t have to cook, as they eat at the Little Chef on site. One only has to read what they have said about their Travelodge life to realise how important it is to them:
Mrs. Davidson “"I really like living here - it's so convenient. Our room is on the ground floor so there are no stairs or lifts to deal with….."For us it's a better and cheaper option than an old people's home and we're well looked after. We don't get hit with huge heating bills over the winter and it's safer than a lot of places these days".

Mr. Davidson, formerly in the Royal Navy, and a banker: "There is always something going on outside our window," (their room is beside the A1) Our room looks out to the car park and a busy slip road where lorries pass by throughout the night.

"We have everything we need here - and the staff are like family now”.

Indeed the staff exchange birthday and Christmas cards with the couple, put up a plaque to mark their 10th anniversary stay, and named Room One the Davidson Suite in their honour. 
Will their Grantham Travelodge be safe from the axe suspended over the worst-performers?
They still have a flat in Sheffield, which they visit around once a fortnight to collect their mail, so at least they have backup accommodation.

But Grantham may not close, and if it does, there’ll be others nearby.