It’s a decade since Willmott Dixon Interiors kicked off its first project in a new refurbishment programme for national hotel chain, Travelodge.
More than 200 completed hotels later, we’re looking forward to extending our stay, having been re-appointed to the [c.£65 million] Travelodge construction framework.
We checked in with Paul Southgate, Operations Manager to find out more.
From short stay to framework contractor
Our partnership with Travelodge stretches back to 2011.
The successful delivery of singular projects paved the way for a more long-lasting relationship. It led, two years later, to appointment to the firm’s construction framework and the major refurbishment programme that has followed.
Paul Southgate has led our involvement throughout, working closely with all stakeholders, including our supply chain partners, in delivering more than 18,000 keys.
He says that a “customer first approach” has given Travelodge complete confidence in our ability to deliver on time and to the highest standards.
He explains: “We take the lead and advise the customer on what we need to do to achieve the required brand standard. It’s about understanding expectations and putting their needs first.”
Consistently high quality in every location
Hotel chains work hard to deliver a consistent customer experience.
Step into any Travelodge hotel and you’ll be struck by the uniformity of layout, the familiar branding and the same quality of finishes.
Maintaining this level of consistency from Fort William to Newquay isn’t easy. It’s why, as one of Travelodge’s chosen contractors, we’ve made it our mission to know its estate every bit as well as its own team does.
“Every hotel should look the same,” says Paul. “It’s repetitive work and our consistent delivery methodology is crucial in maintaining a high quality product across the country.”
We have developed a robust supply chain with the capability to deliver from one project to the next. Well drilled teams operate on various workstreams, each fully aware of the customer’s expectations and functioning effectively as one team.
Planning, delivery and logistics
A strategic approach ensures that individual site locations are scheduled for completion based on factors including revenue and levels of occupation.
Transport and resources are also taken into account.
“Logistics are always one of the biggest challenges on a national framework,” says Paul. “We carefully plan the delivery of materials and the travel arrangements of our teams from one site to another. We have to be efficient in how we manage that, being mindful of both our responsibility to the environment and the rising cost of transportation.”
The strength of our relationship with Travelodge has seen the development of framework specific systems and processes which incorporate elements of the customer’s policies within our own.
And as works are carried out in live hotel buildings, we also place a huge emphasis on brand image and the importance of blending in.
Paul adds: “We never lose sight of the fact that we’re inside a hotel, we have to be sensitive to the environment we’re working in and make sure that we maintain a corporate image.”
A relationship built on trust
Our teams can work right up to noon, with paying guests arriving from 2pm, so failing to meet a deadline is simply not an option.
It’s why a fast-moving programme of works often requires variations to be agreed quickly, with little or no time for formal instructions.
“We always ask ourselves whether something would be acceptable to us if we were a guest. If it isn’t, we need to put it right,” says Paul.
“In reality we don’t always need to look at a scope of works to achieve that, as we know what’s required. It really is a partnering relationship based on mutual trust.”
Paul and his team are now embarking on the refurbishment of projects that were last delivered in 2013. It’s part of Travelodge’s ongoing investment in its estate but the approach remains the same: consistency in people and quality of delivery.
“Our senior managers remain visible on every Travelodge project, just as they were ten years ago. It gives people confidence in our understanding and commitment to each individual site. We have to keep performing to retain our position on the framework.”
Travelodge refurbishments in five steps:
- Full decoration throughout, including all bedrooms, bathrooms, common areas and reception
- New joinery to bedrooms and bathrooms
- New floor finishes, including carpet and hard flooring to bedrooms, bathroom and all common areas
- All lighting upgraded to energy efficient LED fittings
- Full refurbishment of existing bar and café facilities
The keys to a successful hotel construction framework:
- Consistency in people and quality
- Framework specific systems and processes
- In-depth planning and logistics
- A partnering approach to delivery
- Senior management visible on every project
Want to find out more about our work with Travelodge? Click here.