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Press releases

COST NOT FEAR PUTTING UK VISITORS OFF VISITING LONDON

28th Sep 2005



* Research shows that high costs in London are more likely to deter the British public from visiting the capital than the threat of terrorism

* The nation remains determined to carry on as normal in the face of terror

The clear and present danger to London's economy is no longer the threat of terrorism, a study conducted by Travelodge has revealed. The British public is more likely to avoid the capital because of the expense.

Travelodge, the UK's number one budget hotel brand, has undertaken a survey of its customers as well as commissioning independent nationwide research to gage the country's attitude towards the capital. The two questionnaires surveyed a total of 4000 people across the UK.

- More concerned about cost than terror attacks
Of those interviewed for the nationwide research, nearly half the respondents were concerned about expense (45%) whilst only one third (34%) were concerned about the threat from terrorists. Clearly the threat of attack is not deterring people from visiting London, it is the cost.

The Chief Executive of Travelodge, Grant Hearn, expressed his concern at these findings, "The results were not what we expected but on reflection it is unsurprising that visitors remain reluctant to come to London because of prohibitive pricing. There is a vicious circle whereby high running costs lead to increased prices in the capital. Hoteliers, restauranteurs and retailers need to offer better value, and transport and business costs - controlled by the Mayor - need urgent attention."

He continued, "If something is not done to make London more economically accessible to people in the UK - rather than just thinking about fat foreign tourist wallets - then British visitors will simply be excluded from fears about their savings, not their safety. People in the UK have a right to constant and sustained value for money in their capital."

The research also showed that the threat of terrorist attacks has clearly begun to subside. Less than 1% interviewed in the national survey had cancelled any pre-planned trips to London, and - of those who had visited London since 7/7 - two thirds found their trips both enjoyable and safe.

By contrast, a significant majority of all people questioned (71%) said that deals on hotels would encourage them to visit the capital. Respondents also indicated that they would be attracted to the capital by free or discounted travel and entertainment and better value in the retail sector.

Hearn commented, "It is clear that people are looking for good value to make visiting the capital affordable. We offer quality low cost family rooms (from 46) in central London - you don't have to charge the earth just because you are based in central London."

- Back to the Blitz
Of those interviewed in the nationwide survey, younger people were the most concerned for their safety. People between the ages of 16 and 24 were three times more likely to express concerns than people over the age of 55. The older group was five times more likely to express a Blitz mentality towards the bombings.

Younger people (16-24) were also the age group most concerned with the expense of London. And geographically - whilst it is unsurprising that the Scots prioritised money over safety - the Welsh were the most concerned with expense in the capital.

Of the 45% of people in the national survey concerned about the expense associated with London, the larger proportion was male, (51% of all men interviewed were concerned about expense in comparison to 41% of women). Conversely, of the 34% worried about terrorist attacks in the capital, women were the gender proportionately more likely to express concern (40% of all female respondents were concerned about further attacks compared to 23% of men).

When asked if anything further could be done to make London any safer, over one quarter of respondents to the national survey (27%) called for more armed police and over half (56%) thought that there should be a more visible police presence on public transport and the street.

ENDS

About the research
A national survey was commissioned by Travelodge and conducted by Tickbox.net at the beginning of the month (7-12 September). This research took into account the replies of 1325 respondents.

The same survey was also placed on the Travelodge website and received responses from 2675 people.

About Travelodge
* Over six million people stay with Travelodge every year
* Travelodge is to increase its portfolio of budget hotels to 400 by adding 2,500 new rooms each year for the next 6 years.
* Travelodge was named joint number 1 hotel in the UK and the number 1 budget brand by BRDC British Hotel Guest Survey 2005.
* Travelodge offers an online booking service at www.travelodge.co.uk and also via telephone on 08700 850 950
* Travelodge room rates start from just 26 (46 for Central London) per room, per night. (26/46 room rates are subject to availability and can only be booked online)
* Family rooms can accommodate two adults and two children under 16


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