Travelodge is to create 550 new jobs by opening 20 new hotels across the UK this year as more business travellers are targeted.

The budget chain is adding more than 1,900 rooms as the portfolio expands to 578 hotels across the UK, Spain and Ireland.

The new hotels are being developed by third party investors, with an equivalent investment value of £240 million.

Travelodge has opened 78 hotels in the past five years, representing an investment value of over £600 million for third party investors and created over 2,000 new jobs.

The group has also raising quality levels including a £100 million hotel modernisation programme, launching premium economy ‘Super Rooms’, upgrading the food and drink offerings and improving digital platforms.

This has led to a rise in business travellers staying at Travelodges. Business customers now represent a higher proportion of overall sales than leisure customers.

As a result, the company’s 2018 opening programme is more focused on key business-focused locations.

This includes the group’s largest new build, London City Travelodge, a 395-room property with on-site restaurant in the heart of the City of London, close to the Gherkin.

The company’s new flagship hotel is expected to open this summer and will boost Travelodge’s London portfolio to more than 70 hotels.

Other key business locations where Travelodge is opening hotels this year include London Acton, London Dagenham and the Port of Dover.

Chief executive Peter Gowers said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates Travelodge’s continued investment in the UK.

“Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and economic pressures, the UK budget hotel market remains attractive, and we are extending our network to put us where our customers want to be, while creating hundreds of new jobs across the country.”

He added: “Much of our recent success has been driven by our investment in quality and growing appeal to business customers.

“Our new hotels increasingly serve business locations and more and more customers are choosing our new SuperRooms.

“The opening of our largest ever new build hotel this year, in the financial district of the city of London, shows just how far Travelodge has travelled since we opened our first 20-room hotel by the side of the A38 in 1985.”

Twenty Travelodge hotels expected to open in 2018:

• London City
• London Acton
• London Bromley
• Bury St Edmunds
• Chester Windsor House
• Chippenham
• Dagenham
• Dover
• Gainsborough
• Glasgow
• Gravesend
• Lincoln
• Redruth
• Solihull
• Stirling
• Swindon
• Telford
• Walsall
• Welwyn Garden City
• York