Travelodge, the UK’s first budget hotel, has gone Chinese friendly at its latest hotel opening in Bicester, which is located close to designer outlet, Bicester Village - the second biggest attraction after Buckingham Palace for Chinese visitors.
This hotel opening boosts Travelodge’s portfolio to approximately 530 properties.
The 53-room hotel is the company’s fourth local council partnership development. For this deal, Cherwell District Council has funded the construction of the hotel on council land and Travelodge has undertaken a 25- year rental agreement to operate the hotel.
The hotel was officially opened by Paul Harvey, Travelodge Managing Director, Property, Cherwell District Council, Chairman, Councillor Melanie Magee and Katy Wang, Chinese Tutor, Oxford University.
Annually, Bicester Village attracts six million visitors with over half being from China. Interestingly, Travelodge has experienced a 61% increase in web traffic from China since it launched its Bicester hotel on its website. Therefore to welcome the influx of Chinese customers to the hotel, Travelodge, has gone Chinese friendly. It has enrolled the help of Katy Wang, Chinese Tutor at Oxford University to teach its Bicester hotel team Chinese etiquette and key welcome phrases in Mandarin.
Katy Wang’s bespoke masterclass included informing the team that Chinese guests should never be given a room on the fourth floor of the hotel or a room with the number four in it because in Mandarin the number four sounds too similar to the word death. It is also imperative not to point with one finger but with the whole hand. In addition the team were taught key welcome Mandarin phrases to help at check-in which included: ‘Welcome to Travelodge’, ‘Hello’, ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’ and ‘Have a Nice Stay’.
Also as part of its ‘Chinese friendly’ service, Travelodge is trialling noodle kettles, a nifty portable kettle that cooks noodles in minutes. Also the hotel chain has created a bespoke Oriental snack box, which contains: a packet of flavoured noodles, a bowl, chop sticks, green tea bag and a fortune cookie that customers can buy from reception for just £3.00. Also green tea bags have been introduced as part of the complementary in-room offering.
Paul Harvey, Travelodge Managing Director, Property said: “Our innovative development partnership with local councils is going very well. We are delighted to open our fourth local authority hotel with Cherwell District Council and be a key part of their Bicester regeneration programme. The forward thinking council has recognised the opportunity to add a Travelodge hotel into their town whilst making a good return on their investment.”
“With Bicester Village welcoming a growing number of Chinese visitors and the strong demand that we are experiencing in web traffic from China we have gone Chinese friendly at our Bicester hotel. It's vital that we make our Chinese customers feel welcome and that's why at Travelodge we have introduced the little things like a word or two in Mandarin and a way to enjoy familiar food in the comfort of their room. These little changes can make the world of difference to someone’s stay.”
Katy Wang, Chinese Tutor, Oxford University said: “It’s great that Travelodge acknowledges the value of going Chinese friendly, it makes good business sense. Simple things like the team learning welcome phrases in Mandarin showcases that Travelodge is a warm welcoming hotel which is vital for Chinese visitors.”
Cllr Melanie Magee, Chairman of Cherwell District Council, said: 'The council welcomes the new Travelodge and the services and jobs that it will bring to the local area'.
Bicester Travelodge has been designed in the company’s new contemporary brand design. Rooms have been designed by customers and feature the luxurious king-size Travelodge dreamer bed, which offers customers a great night sleep after a long day of shopping.
In addition, to help create a warm and cosy ambiance in the new room so that customers obtain a good quality night’s sleep, Travelodge has worked with a chromotherapy expert and has introduced a sleep inducing colour palette to the room’s décor. The new Travelodge room feature wall has been painted a tranquil blue, as research shows our body clock is programmed to relate the colour blue to the hours of darkness. So when we look at the colour blue, our metabolism slows down, making us feel relaxed and sleepy.
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Notes to editors:
Wesley Lane, Pioneer Square, Bicester, Oxon, OX26 6JU