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When I'm travelling, I often stay at Travel Inn and Travel Lodge hotels overnight. I know I can book easily, check in late and be pretty sure of the room I'm getting at either chain.

Both companies follow up a day or two later with an online review which I'm happy to complete. I've just "done" Dundee (Travel Inn) and Aberdeen (Travel Lodge) and it was instructive to see how - even in their reviews - the chains differ.

Travel Inn's review is several pages long, and asks a number of questions the answers to which as a hotel operator I would find useful and constructive. I can rank a number of the facilities and I'm sure that with dozens or hundreds of responses a "shape" should be seen in the reviews which would point me to the strong and weak points of each hotel. The absolute values given by individuals for each category are less useful - there are people who tend to mark high, and people who tend to mark low - we know that from our course reviews (but perhaps Travel Inn have a 'trigger' question such as we do which tells them whether or not the review is, overall, satisfactory).

Travel Lodge just ask "Would you recommend TraveLodge to a friend or colleague" with a ranking scale from 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely). I find myself looking at the questions and thinking that the answers they get won't give insight into any problems (they do have a "comment" box you may use, to be fair). I'm sorry, TraveLodge, but based on my recent stay I'm going to give you a low ranking. It's honest - for several reasons my stay at Aberdeen Bucksburn was something of a turnoff from TraveLodge, which is what they want to know. But I don't think they want to know why.

Oh - did YOU want to know why?

They have a major litter and upkeep problem in their carpark. I was greeted by an area that looked like the field next to the council waste dump after a storm, or the car park at McDonald's before the first clean sweep on a Sunday morning after a raucous Saturday night. Truly disgusting. And the fencing to the area was broken down ... much of the rubbish clearly old. I feared for the security of my car and took care to park in what I felt was a safer spot.

"Look, you're not paying very much so you don't get those little extras" shouts the hotel. Just one towel, limited soap, no ability to access broadband on site, etc. And the checking gent has more the attitude of a guard than a receptionist. For a cheap night, all this is fair enough ... but there's a bit of an irony. I paid 47 pound for the night in the Dundee Travel Inn that I would thoroughly recommend ... and I paid 55 pounds and got less - MUCH less - in Aberdeen.

I started off by saying that I use Travel Inn and Travel Lodge - yet I appear to have contrasted them utterly there. Why do I use them both, then? Travel Inns are often full when I book at the last minute, and there are a few holes in coverage (Cambridge, for example!). But I know that I can usually get in at a Travel Lodge at the last minute and, when all is said and done, it's a clean bed, a bathroom and (personally) I don't have trouble sleeping directly under the flightpath out of Aberdeen Airport.

The views expressed in this post are my personal views, experience and conclusions.

{b}Added a few minutes later[/b] It's 30th March, and when I completed the form (offering a link to the above entry in case Travel Lodge want to read it and perhaps comment) , I was informed:

STOP PRESS Thousands of extra [c2]ã26 rooms on Fridays and Sundays just added. Available to book from 8th February for room stays between 2nd March and 25th March 2007. Hurry must end 18th March.

Not bad ... the offer only closed over 10 days ago ... "Dentist Waiting Room Syndrome" again!
(written 2007-03-30, updated 2008-12-26)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter for individual articles
M400 - Well House Manor - The Hospitality Business
  [4613] Our best hotel customers help us ... to help them ... be our best customers. - (2016-01-04)
  [4603] Happy New Year. Our customers are our ambassadors - (2016-01-01)
  [4543] Saturday morning at Well House Manor - (2015-10-17)
  [4521] Should we get an AA or Visit Wiltshire hotel assessment? - (2015-10-09)
  [4321] Are administration / review charges on hotel guests acceptable? - (2014-11-20)
  [4232] Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy - (2013-12-30)
  [4202] Excellent Railfuture conference, but some setup lessons - (2013-11-03)
  [4051] On reading a new hotel review - (2013-03-24)
  [4033] Official Star ratings for hotels - still worth having? - (2013-03-07)
  [3988] Three cheers for the staff at Well House Manor - (2013-01-24)
  [3909] Every Customer Counts - (2012-11-01)
  [3838] Guest review - Well House Manor, Melksham - (2012-08-14)
  [3832] A busy day at Well House Manor - so come in and make it even busier! - (2012-08-10)
  [3743] Sunday - no longer a day of rest - (2012-05-28)
  [3660] A Pivotal Incident - learning how to welcome your guests - (2012-03-18)
  [3309] Tipping Policy - Well House Manor - (2011-05-29)
  [3164] Brown - or Mrs Sally Brown, accountant from Whitstable? - (2011-02-10)
  [3147] Hotel star ratings - towards a better system of review - (2011-01-25)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2879] Night Porter and reception - 24 hours a day? - (2010-07-20)
  [2724] Escapee Grandparents welcome - Henfield and Melksham - (2010-04-15)
  [2593] Food and drink launch - (2010-01-21)
  [2303] Turning potential customers away - (2009-07-24)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2007] Launch of Melksham Food and Drink Festival - (2009-01-24)
  [1877] Guests doing a bunk? - (2008-11-09)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1622] An extra step - victory from defeat - (2008-04-25)
  [1548] Hotelympia - show report - the lighter side - (2008-02-21)
  [1445] Looking after you Christmas Customer Crowds - (2007-11-26)
  [1422] Wiltshire - speaker / after dinner talker offer - (2007-11-05)
  [1421] Castle Lodge Hotel, Ely, Cambridgeshire - (2007-11-04)
  [1284] An update on the West Wilts show ... - (2007-07-30)
  [1248] How NOT to oversell a hotel - (2007-06-27)
  [1180] Conjugation - (2007-05-08)
  [1161] A contrast in room rates and facilities - (2007-04-25)
  [1108] Express service - (2007-03-14)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1048] Getting rid of people - hotel techniques - (2007-01-21)
  [1046] Bounce, bounce, bounce - (2007-01-20)
  [1002] Meet the neighbours - (2006-12-20)
  [988] You should think you're first in a hotel room - (2006-12-15)
  [922] Staying at your own hotel - (2006-11-12)
  [884] Drive time - (2006-10-02)
  [774] Bed and Breakfast, or Hotel? - (2006-06-22)

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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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