Coach Marketing Award
The winner of this award will demonstrate the creative use of a range of marketing tools to grow their business and increase consumer awareness.
Any methods in the marketing toolbox can be used: branding, business-to-business, direct mail, media advertising, the internet, PR or a combination of all these techniques.
The important thing is that they will have delivered measurable results. At the heart of this success will be well-researched travel markets and clear monitoring criteria to judge results and fine-tune campaigns as necessary.
The Winners: Stagecoach East, for X5 Oxford to Cambridge
X5 links Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge, up to every thirty minutes seven days a week, and was named Express Operation of the Year at last year’s UK Bus Awards. It is run with a fleet of 17 wheelchair accessible, air conditioned, leather seated, Wi-Fi enabled coaches, and the judges thought that this was a clever and well-executed marketing campaign that made excellent use of both conventional and new media, and certainly delivered passenger growth on the route.
You can watch this short animated advertisement too, which was used to promote a discount ticket to students (this has been removed to avoid confusion with the real thing).
Runners Up: National Express Limited, for Spring 2009 Marketing Campaign
This was a tactical and integrated marketing initiative aimed at driving reconsideration of coach travel, mounted during the Spring of 2009. Using a competitive £1 fare offer and setting out to challenge outdated perceptions of coaches, to drive customer engagement.
Ultimately, the campaign aigmed to present a more modern, up to date image of National Express and of coach travel generally. The campaign delivered 135,000 new customers to National Express's database, and is estimated to have have a return on investment (ROI) of £4.1m.
The judges felt that this was a well executed and successful campaign, conceived to counteract the recession and communicate the brand. It used a variety of media to drive traffic to the web site and to get across the key messages of quality and value to the target audience.
The following nominations for this contest were highly commended by the judges.
Excelsior Coaches: Passenger Transport Solutions
Excelsior Coaches is a well-known local company, that has been in business for 85 years and has totally reengineered its approach to its products and services over the past 3 years. In order for companies to survive, businesses need to move with the times, and adopt a more commercial business oriented approach, with innovative marketing playing a key part.
A new brand and marketing strap line was developed in house by the Sales and Marketing team and deployed across the business, “Excelsior….the Exception” from business cards to the website, all the vehicles in the fleet had the new strap line and design applied.
The main focus was to develop a concept that moved traditional coach hire away from being a low value boxed solution of the cheapest coach, to a product that could offer value added services and solutions to its clients, as well as open up the possibility for revenue generating opportunities for those clients, with one point of contact/account manager for these businesses.
The traditional name of “Private Hire” became “Passenger Transport Solutions”, A complete marketing product pack and promotional material was developed focusining on developing B2B relationships. Our main objective was to gain long term contracts with large corporates in the area and sign long term agreements, which secured revenue for the business and also developed the working relationship.
The judges thought that this was a well thought-out strategic approach to the question of coach hire marketing. It made clever use of a variety of media; the outcomes carefully monitored and the campaign led to strong business growth.
Stagecoach in Oxford, for the Oxford Tube
The Oxford Tube is a high frequency coach service between Oxford and London, running up to every 10 minutes . It boasts a 24-hour service, running 365 days a year.
On board there are all the modern facilities, such as comfortable reclining seats and legroom but with some great extras such as free Wi-Fi, power sockets and air-conditioning.
ln June 2009 Stagecoach invested in the latest, most environmental coaches on the market replacing its previous generation of Neoplan Skyliners with Van HoolAstromegas. The issue Stagecoach therefore faced was how to launch a new coach while keeping everything that makes it legendary, but nevertheless making it fresh and exciting.
The judges praised a tightly planned and executed campaign, which made extensive use of sales promotion, advertising and new media, to launch the new vehicles and boost the brand.
The Visit Wiltshire Tourism Partnership
VisitWiltshire is the official tourism partnership for the geographical county of Wiltshire, including Swindon. lt is a public-private sector, membership based partnership funded by Wiltshire Council.
ln Wiltshire, tourism is estimated to be worth f762m a year to the local economy, employing around 6% of the localworkforce. Some of VisitWiltshire's key objectives are to:
- increase the visibility of Wiltshire and its assets
- grow the value of tourism in Wiltshire by increasing the average spend per visitor and the average length of stay by developing imaginative new products
- demonstrate a commitment to sustainable tourism and encourage others to do the same and improve the overall attitude to awareness of sustainability issues.
One of the ways in which VisitWiltshire wanted to meet these objectives was to increase the number of group visits coming to the county. Many people are unaware of Wiltshire as a brand and until 2009 Wiltshire was promoted via five different districUborough councils in a variety of different ways.
VisitWiltshire believes that by increasing the number of group visits, particularly those arriving by coach, they are not only increasing the awareness of Wiltshire but are also bringing more people to the area in a more sustainable manner who would bring more money to the local economy.
The judges felt that this was a nicely executed campaign, with closely monitored outcomes - and some very successful results.
Who can be nominated?
This category was open to coach operators, tourist attractions or other organisations participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of coach services.
… and by whom?
As well as coach operators and suppliers of services to coach operators, we welcome nominations by customers, local authorities and tourist attractions. Where nominations are made by third parties, the nominee will be contacted and asked for additional information. Self-nomination is acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The award will be based on the quality of the information supplied. Nominees were asked to:
- Describe the initiative, how it was planned and what targets were set for it.
- State how the initiative was executed, showing the methods used and why
- Give some indication that demand was stimulated and customer access to the product improved
- Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the campaign in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators
- State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Supply appropriate examples of the campaign materials that delivered the reported results.