CEO Peter Gowers says: “It’s time to start talking to our customers again. Our aim is to become Britain’s favourite hotel for value. We want to tell out customers we have changed and we have thousands of refurbished rooms.”
The advertising will focus on Travelodge’s role as an “enabler” for guests to get out and explore and enjoy the hotel locale and this will be supported by online and social media activity.
The advertising, developed by CHI, includes a television spot that will break on 10 May during ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and introduces the strapline “Get Up And Go”. The spots were filmed at four different Travelodge locations and shows opportunities for enjoyable experiences, such as cycling along the Manchester Ship canal. It is the first TV activity for the brand since 2011.
Gowers, who is a former CMO of InterContinental Hotel Group, told Marketing Week: “We are showing the rooms but somewhat incidentally. The ad is much more about our customers – they take our customers through the sort of experiences they can expect to have if they use us as a base camp.”
The company has been in turnaround since a financial restructure in 2012 and is currently owned by three equity houses. It has invested in a room refurbishment programme that should be fully completed by next year and relaunched its website six months ago.
Gowers, who came on board four months ago, says that Travelodge had used its 32,000 strong customer panel as a sounding board about its marketing and feedback urged the chain “to show us what we can do” and not to use a celebrity.
Rival value hotel chain Premier Inn uses comedian Lenny Henry in its marketing and launched a new campaign in January. The Whitbread-owned chain has just reported 13.4 per cent year on year revenue growth to £967.9m to 27 February 2014, with like for like sales up 5 per cent.
Travelodge’s supporting social media activity will be promoted in the TV ad with the hashtag #getupandgo and will not encourage guests to share pictures of their activities.
Gowers says that the value sector is still the fastest growing part of the hotel market and will continue to be so as the UK still has a huge untapped market of potential guests who have never stayed in hotels but a slow cultural shift means more are willing to try the experience.
Travelodge sales and marketing director Catriona Kempston will leave the company in August to join Mitchells & Butler but the company says she will be replaced.