The long-awaited battle for hotel brands may at last be starting in Europe. Travelodge, the number two budget chain in the UK, has launched a £4m advertising campaign described as the 'Hotel Revolution'.
The company has yet to take on the UK's biggest hotel brand by room numbers, Whitbread's Premier Travel Inn, however, and is not using the television. Instead, the spend is to be spread across press, poster, web and radio.
But at £4m, the amount of cash being lavished is slightly more than the amount (around £3m) Whitbread has invested on an annual basis for Premier Travel Inn, including television advertising. And even more worrying for Whitbread is the tone of the campaign: Travelodge is attempting to put clear blue water between it and what it alleges is amenity creep at its chief rival.
The tack being taken by Travelodge is to focus on £26 room rates and price cuts of £20m. Although the press release never actually uses the phrase, it is clear that Travelodge want to emulate the 'every day low prices' strategy used by supermarket giants Tesco and Wal Mart to such devastating effect.
There is another, rather more unfortunate parallel, however, in the name chosen for the new prices: supersaver, saver and flexible. Aficionados of the bad old days of British Rail might be expecting to be offered stale sausage rolls on check-in as well.
Back to the beginning