HOTELIERS have raised concern that some businesses “may not survive” if a Travelodge is opened in Weymouth.

The budget hotel brand celebrates 20 years of trading at UK seaside resorts this summer, and to mark the milestone the company announced that it wants to expand in a further 26 coastal locations, including its first ever branch in Weymouth.

The plans form part of the company’s £165 million seaside and coastal town expansion programme.

However Karen Harris, chairman of the Weymouth Hoteliers Guesthouses and Leaseholders Association, said that the impact of the proposed plans on existing hoteliers should be considered alongside the potential benefits of a new hotel.

She said: “Weymouth, like many seaside resorts, is seasonal and during school holidays and on weekends there will be more demand than beds available. For the rest of the year there are plenty of beds available and insufficient guests to book them.

“By adding yet more available beds to the town of a similar type to what already exists, there will almost certainly be a further empty beds.

“There are businesses that may not survive. A purpose built hotel with dedicated parking is difficult to compete with.

“A large company such as Travelodge can afford to sell rooms at very cheap rates off season and therefore can attract more off peak reservations but small businesses lose money if they try to compete.”

The company says the multi-million pound development programme will offer the growing leisure traveller market more choice, greater value coastal holiday destinations and support local coastal economies with their regeneration plans.

Tony O’Brien, Travelodge UK development director said: “We are seeing the rebirth of British seaside resorts and coastal towns as a result of Britons changing holiday habits. We are becoming a strong staycation nation that likes to take lots of short breaks throughout the year rather than a traditional two-week block holiday and Dorset is benefitting from the this trend.

“Dorset is a key tourism magnet and is enjoying year on year growth. The county’s multibillion tourism industry has great potential for further growth and we want to be a part of this. Therefore we are starting our search now for a fifth hotel in Bournemouth and our first hotel in Weymouth.

“Collectively this Dorset expansion programme would represent an investment of £13 million for third party investors and would create 50 new jobs.” It will also support the local economy as our research shows on average our customers spend double their room rate with local businesses which annually results in a multimillion boost for the local economy.

“Investing in a low-cost hotel like Travelodge is an increasingly attractive choice, as it draws visitors, creates jobs and helps boost the local economy.”

As part of the expansion, Travelodge said it has written to the local council to see if it can play a role in regeneration programmes.