Travelodge is undertaking a major development and refresh program of its portfolio of 17 prime location hotels, reflecting its confidence in the local market, according to the group's executives. The first stage of the brand refresh program is under way within the Tucker Box Hotel Trust portfolio, with Travelodge Sydney, Travelodge Southbank and Travelodge Blacktown already completed. A second phase is in progress including Travelodge Newcastle, Travelodge Phillip Street, Travelodge Macquarie Park, Travelodge Wynyard and Travelodge Perth which are scheduled for completion by mid-2015. The group director of Marketing, Emma Fraser, at Travelodge said the refresh program is planned for the remaining hotels in the portfolio in 2015/16. Managed by Toga Far East Hotels (TFE Hotels), there are currently 17 Travelodge Hotels across Australia and New Zealand. Tucker Box Hotel Trust (jointly owned by the National Roads &amp; Motorists' Association and Mirvac Group) owns 12 Travelodges in Australia. "We are building a 209-room Travelodge Mascot, and due to open in late 2015. It will have 800 car spaces and be located just 500 metres from the domestic airport, which we expect will be very busy next year," Ms Fraser said. "The hotels cater to the small to medium enterprises, as well as the business traveller or for international tourists on a short stopover." Ms Fraser said early bookings and inquiries indicated that the coming year was looking to be very active. In addition, construction is planned to commence on an additional 54 rooms at Travelodge Bankstown, including the upgrade of the existing hotel rooms and foyer. The Travelodge revamp comes as Savills are expecting total sales of hotels in Australia to exceed $2.35 billion for the 2014 calendar year. This will be a record amount and the third consecutive year in Australia that more than $2 billion will be invested in hotels. Simon Hemphill, NSW research director at Savills, said that while overseas investors are the driving force behind hotel acquisitions in major capital cities, especially for prime 4- and 5-star hotels, domestic investors are seeking value-add opportunities in non-CBD and regional locations. "The high demand for central business district assets is starting to create a ripple effect in the suburbs, and hotels are now becoming flavour of the month for Australian banks," Mr Hemphill said. "The year-to-date 2014 average price per room in Australia currently stands at just over $303,000, an increase of 15.5 per cent when compared to the 2013 figure."