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This marketing campaign was deemed so outstanding in every respect that not one judge opposed Whitbread - Premier Inn being named as this year's Catey winner.
"The winner absolutely and totally met all our judging criteria," said Ann Elliott, managing director, Elliott Marketing and PR. "The activity was a whole campaign, which included all elements of the marketing mix, as opposed to just social media or PR."
The Premier Inn campaign for 2010/11 focused on the idea of Premier Weekends and was driven through national press, hotel signage, online and digital, PR and TV.
You've probably all seen the adverts on TV. They feature comedian Lenny Henry enjoying different weekends away, with the aim of capturing the budget hotel company's target customer.
Central to the campaign was the new £29 price point, which was introduced for the first time and tapped into consumer demand for inexpensive weekends away during a difficult financial time.
The results say it all. In 2010, from an investment of £10m, the campaign generated more than 1.3 million room nights worth over £40m and weekend occupancy improved by more than 10 percentage points year on year. Like-for-like occupancy saw an increase of 9.2 percentage points to 79.3%, which outperformed the budget and overall hotel sectors by 5.9%. Last but not least, in January this year Premier Inn showed the highest YouGov Brand Index score among branded hotel chains in the UK, notching up 18.4%, compared with nearest competitor Travelodge at 9.7%.
In Elliott's experience, the campaign was a triumph. "It was both inventive and enterprising in its breadth and scope and it delivered results that other marketers can only dream about. Anyone studying marketing in any learning capacity could do worse than read (and reread) this as a case study to understand why marketing is such a fundamental part of business success," she said.
Richard Ware, head of services, Cambridgeshire Catering and Cleaning Services, was less vocal, but no less impressed: "Their approach covered all the elements of a group marketing campaign, with great outcomes," he said.
ShortlistedPizzaExpress â- The Dorchester Collection - Coworth Park â- Whitbread - Premier Inn
The JudgesPenta Davies, marketing manager, the Chester Grosvenor
Ann Elliott, managing director, Elliott Marketing & PR
Ray Jones, head of marketing and communications, the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Richard Ware, head of services, Cambridgeshire Catering and Cleaning Services
Paul West, managing director, Ignite Hospitality Consultants