It's 20 years since Travelodge pioneered the budget hotel market in the UK. Now it has 272 sites around the country and opens a new hotel every 10 days. With its focus increasingly on urban sites, including London, what better way to promote these new locations than with a relaxing and economical city runabout, the hybrid Toyota Prius?
Travelodge Hotels Ltd, which is based in Thame, Oxfordshire, is taking on four of the petrol-electric cars for the task, and is having them branded in the new Travelodge logo, which features a ‘resting head’ in blue on a red background. The Prius cars will replace the existing Smart cars used for marketing, and will be driven by hotel managers during each new hotel-opening promotion. When not on temporary assignment, they will be used in the capital to provide transport between hotels.
Fleet Administrator Nicola Higgins was given a Prius demonstrator by Toyota Fleet and was sufficiently impressed to recommend ordering the model. "Although the cars will be going all over the country, for a lot of the time they will be driven slowly around town and city centres, which is when the electric motor kicks in to save on petrol," says Nicola. "And in London we will of course also be saving on the congestion charge."
The Prius returns 65.7mpg on the official combined cycle and its CO2 emissions are only 105g/km, yet it can compete with conventionally powered cars on performance, space and comfort. "Toyota Fleet was really good - if it hadn't offered us the demo I may not have realised that the Prius offered us the best cost-effective option," said Nicola.
The Travelodge cars are being supplied on full-maintenance contract hire by Arval PHH, on a three-year or 70,000-mile replacement cycle.Published 2 September 2005