Premier Inn aims to shake up hotel advertising

Premier Inn is putting £15m behind a multichannel campaign it believes breaks the mould for the hotel sector.


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The centrepiece of the campaign is 60-second ad breaking today (19 January) featuring brand ambassador Lenny Henry that does not follow the traditional path of showing the room or other hotel interiors.

Recently installed brand marketing director Russell Braterman explained to Marketing Week that the Whitbread-owned brand is moving closer to becoming a “heart of the nation” brand and has permission from its customers to move on from traditional hotel marketing tropes.

The new campaign pushes the brand further along that journey by helping create a more emotional relationship with customers alongside detailing the rational benefits Premier Inn offers.

The ad, devised by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, shows Henry in the Premier Inn bed in a variety of outside locations extolling the virtues of a Premier Inn’s offering.

There will not be a specific price message in the TV ad but the “Good Night Guarantee” remains as part of the ad and a key component of Premier Inn’s value proposition. The campaign also accompanies the introduction of a new bed at the hotel that will be gradually rolled out over the estate.

Braterman, who has been in place for four months and is a former Phones4U and Vodafone marketer, says: “From a comms point of view the ad breaks a few rules in how hotels normally advertise. Normally you just open a door to a hotel and see a room but that will just not going to cut-through.”

He adds that the environments shown in the ad were chosen in a considered way to help show the wide geographic distribution of the Premier Inn estate and also that “we are proud of being British”.

“The ad locations also reflect the reasons people might come and stay with us from going to a wedding to taking a family trip.”

The ad will be accompanied by press ads and widespread outdoor activity including city centre, rail and London Underground sites. There will also be digital and social activity.

The budget sector is intensely competitive and rival Travelodge is soon to unveil a brand overhaul and new campaign following a refurbishment of its estate.

However, the market as a whole is still underserved and the main players see plenty of opportunity for organic growth. Braterman says: “Premier Inn and the sector benefits in general from the history of the recession. I don’t think people will just bounce back to profligacy; people are savvier than they were a few years ago. But the best thing that can happen is that people come in and try the product.”

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