Travelodge has announced plans to open two new hotels in south London this year.

Elephant and Castle and Peckham are two of 17 new locations targeted by the chain in 2021.

The plans will see the hotel chain increase its network to 597 locations in the UK, Ireland and Spain and bosses hope the new sites will be open in time for the summer holidays.

News Shopper: Travelodge is hiring 360 workers as it unveils plans for 17 new hotels across the UK (Nick Ansell/PA)

New sites will be developed with cash from third party investors to the tune of £175 million, including an expansion of Travelodge’s higher-end self-styled “budget chic” hotels.

Launched in 2018, the concept is designed to tap into a more upmarket identity similar to premium economy airline seats, which demand a higher profit margin.

This year, the group said it plans to open three new Travelodge Plus hotels, two in London and one in St Albans, with 14 properties in prime locations across the UK in total.

Bosses also plan to offer more premium SuperRooms, with 2,000 across 58 hotels, the company added.

Craig Bonnar, Travelodge chief executive, said: “After a challenging 12 months, today’s announcement demonstrates the strength in the Travelodge brand and is a key step forward as we emerge out of lockdown.”

Two of the 17 new hotels opened on Tuesday, having been previously delayed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, including the London Mile End Travelodge Plus and Portsmouth City Centre Travelodge Plus.

Sites have remained open through the pandemic for frontline workers in the pandemic but due to restrictions business customers and holidaymakers have been forced to stay away.

Last summer Travelodge bosses persuaded landlords to back a deal to cut millions off the firm’s rent bills under a company voluntary arrangement plan to avoid bankruptcy, saving an estimated £144 million.