Bonnar, who was born and raised in Kirkcaldy, Fife, takes up the role of chief executive with immediate effect.
The hotel giant praised his understanding of the group, his “vast experience” within the hospitality sector and his “strong leadership skills”.
Bonnar has been serving as interim chief executive since the start of this year and has been a member of the group operating board since his appointment as chief operating officer in January 2017. During this time, he is said to have made a significant contribution to the running of the company and its financial and operational performance.
Prior to joining Travelodge Bonnar worked at supermarket major Asda for more than 20 years. Having started on the shop floor, he joined the chain’s graduate programme and progressed through the business holding a variety of senior roles including head of retail operations, operations director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, managing director of City Facilities Management and vice president store proposition and format development.
Bonnar said: “Travelodge is one of the UK’s great brands and the engine of this business is its people, and I am honoured to be given this opportunity to lead the company forward in its next phase of growth.
“I take on this new role with great ambition for the group and I am looking forward to working with the leadership team to build upon the brand’s strong foundation with Travelodge being well positioned to benefit from recovery as restrictions are lifted and demand builds.
“Our immediate priorities are to reopen all our hotels and resume full trading, continue to rebuild relationships with our landlords and plan for the future.”
Recently appointed chairman Martin Robinson said: “In the short time I’ve been with Travelodge I have been extremely impressed by Craig’s energy, strategic insight and exceptional leadership qualities.
“He has led us through a critical period of recovery and with his in-depth knowledge as COO and passion for the brand; Craig was the natural choice to lead the business on the next leg of its journey.
“I look forward to working with Craig, both professionally and personally, as we embark on our next phase of growth.”
The hotel operator, which was founded in 1985, recently announced that it expects to open 17 new sites in 2021, creating 360 jobs and growing its hotel network to 597 locations in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
As part of its expansion, the firm is continuing the roll-out of Travelodge Plus, a “budget chic’ format designed around the needs of the budget traveller “who wants that little bit more style and choice”.
The group also continues to grow and extend its on-site restaurant business with eight of this year’s new openings featuring the company’s Bar Cafe concept. These new additions will boost the group’s portfolio to more than 200 hotels now featuring a Bar Cafe.
Several English towns, including Boston, Newark and Rochdale, will gain their first Travelodge this year.