Dear Travelodge

Dear Travelodge,

Thank you for being the brand that never fails to disappoint…and in so-being, reminding me how important it is for service brands to over-deliver.

You I’m afraid do the opposite. You over-promise and under-deliver.

Not good.

When forced into my consideration set, my “journey” with you is as follows:

  • “Uh-oh, Travelodge…are there no other options?” (upon google’s revelation that Travelodge is a possibility)
  • “Well, I guess Travelodge is OK – all I need is a bed for the night, nothing fancy ” (upon discovering that there are other options, but that they are either fully booked, ludicrously expensive, or miles away)
  • “Actually, Travelodge is a good and sensible, cost-effective choice, I’m not precious after all – I’m being pragmatic” (upon booking the room online)
  • “Well, at least it’ll be clean, I’ll be asleep in 10 minutes” (upon driving into the car park, usually late a night)
  • “I’m getting a horrible sense of déjà vu right now” (upon struggling with self check-in despite having all the right codes and information / having to return to reception because the flaming card key doesn’t work)
  • “I cannot believe that, once again, I’ve managed erase the disappointment of previous Travelodge stays and kidded myself that it was going to be OK this time” (upon lying on the “bed”, desperately reaching around for something that comes close to resembling a duvet, inhaling the aroma of a thousand stale cigarettes and taking in the disastrous (lack of) decor and industrial en suite shower)
  • “OK, that’s it! Never. Again.” (upon looking at my phone and realising that it’s now 3am, that I have to be up in 3 and a half hours and that the hateful fire alarm LED is not ever going to stop winking at me.
  • Repeat as above approx. 3 months later.

The above pattern is strange.

 

As humans, we are completely and utterly irrational (see Exhibit A: High Heels, above).

But in the face of such damning evidence why is it that I keep coming back to you?

It’s not the bed.

It’s not the customer service.

It’s not room.

It’s not even the price (which, Ryanair style, is never as cheap as advertised…or is that just my perception?)

I can only conclude that Phil & Kirsty have got it right.

It’s location, location, location.

And for that, we’re willing, against our better judgement and past experience, to compromise.

Thanks again Travelodge, and here’s to under promising and over delivering.

Ned

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