Newsworthy stories are by definition worthy of being reported in the media. The skill of the public relations practitioner is often in turning the humdrum and mundane into talking points.
Two obvious questions arise from this. Academics (and journalists) tend to question the ethics of such manufactured news (pseudo events); marketers may question the ‘advertising value’ of a story that stands up perfectly well without any reference to Travelodge.
I’ll sidestep the first objection for now by saying that this is harmless enough as long as the research has some credibility (it’s not clear to me from the Travelodge website that this is the case in this instance); as to the other objection, I think this steers a course mid way between advertising promotion and independent news. We know about advertorials; this is a form of ‘journadvertisement’.