Travelodge has reignited its bitter budget battle with Premier Inn after complaining to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that its rival is wrongly claiming to be the largest hotel operator in London.
The complaint relates to adverts featured in the property press early last month, in which Premier Inn appealed to developers and landowners to help them expand the company, in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics and beyond.
Travelodge has challenged the claims made by Premier Inn that it already has 5,500 rooms in London, that it is currently the largest operator in the capital, and that it intends to "identify even more sites to help us extend our lead".
It said that its research showed that Premier Inn has 4,853 rooms in the capital, while Travelodge has 5,092 rooms.
Paul Harvey, managing director for development at Travelodge, said that the Premier Inn ad had misled developers into believing that Premier Inn was bigger that it actually was.
"Travelodge has exchanged on a further 22 properties in London that are set to open by the time of the Olympics, giving us 7,302 rooms," he said.
"Unless Premier Inn can publicly prove otherwise, we trust they will now stop both running adverts and claiming in interviews that they are the biggest hotel operator in London, both now and in 2012."
A spokesperson for Premier Inn said: "Under the ASA guidelines Travelodge should be contacting us in the first instance and we have not been notified of any complaint. If we are contacted obviously we will respond to it with the facts."
● In 2009 Travelodge was rapped by the ASA for a "misleading" campaign in which its room cost was only £39, compared with £65 for Express by Holiday Inn. However, it failed to mention that the Express by Holiday Inn deal included breakfast and Travelodge's did not.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs