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 2018 Results
Winner, Gold Award: National Holidays
Declare your own National Holidays!
Yorkshire based National Holidays has excellent customer retention rates of 80%, but it needed to acquire new customers at a faster rate in order to achieve the growth target it set over the next three years. The company set out to target a new demographic by developing a strong 'experience lead' range of products aimed at those that perhaps have never thought about going away on a break by coach. National Holidays developed a TV and radio campaign in which various characters 'declared their own national holidays', backed up with social media and direct marketing. From the mix of product specific messaging, to the choice of actors used to bring the tours to life, this was a very different series of advertisements to any that have been used before to promote coach holidays. The word 'coach' is only mentioned once in two of the three TV advertisements, which were designed to appeal as much to a 40+ market as a 65+ market and had carefully timed slots around programmes that would appeal to that market. The response was much higher than anticipated on both the website and 0800 telephone number set up for the campaign.
The judges were very impressed with this campaign, which not only seeks to introduce coach travel to a demographic that are not traditionally coach travellers, but that the campaign uses radio and TV advertising alongside social media and direct mail.
Winner, Silver Award: megabus.com
Launch of new coaches
In November last year, megabus.com introduced nine new vehicles into the fleet. Previously new vehicle launches weren't publicised, but on this occasion, a plan was developed to publicise the introduction in full. This approach enabled megabus.com to tell passengers about the investment made, whilst also demonstrating the onboard experience in an attempt to change the perception of the brand as being low cost. The plan was to deliver an integrated campaign, both online and offline, using a competition to name the new vehicles, alongside sophisticated video productions. One created a 3D immersive experience of the new vehicles' interior, while the two short videos showed the wow factor of all nine coaches driving around Silverstone race track, and a lifestyle style video showcasing the features of the coaches and the onboard experience. The final choices of names and supporting on-vehicle graphics are being finalised this year.
The judges considered this to be a well executed use of digital communications, especially targeted at young people. They also welcomed the effort to change perceptions of express coach travel.
Winner, Bronze Award: Stagecoach East Scotland
Express City Connect
Stagecoach East Scotland's Express City Connect services operate across Fife, Perthshire, Dundee and Angus, and extend to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Livingston. The routes are operated by luxury coaches, fitted with free customer wifi, air-conditioning, wheelchair lift, luggage lockers, CCTV, 240v/USB sockets, and the majority of the fleet also have leather, reclining seats and a toilet on-board. The coaches are designed to offer a comfortable and affordable travel alternative by providing additional amenities, and appealing to commuters, day trippers and students. For each development in the network, such as new fleet, routes, tickets or vehicle movements, a campaign is carried out to create awareness and increase patronage. Each significant development in the fleet or network has resulted in an increase in the number of passengers. Overall, passenger numbers travelling across the network has increased by 10% year on year.
The judges commented that continued investment in new vehicles and new routes, supported by continuous marketing highlighting the benefits of express coach travel, and picking up on each new development, is clearly reaping benefits for this expanding network.
Finalist: Bakers Dolphin Coach Travel
Safer School Coach Travel Campaign
Bakers Dolphin, based in Weston-super-Mare found it was losing out on schools business, often being undercut by budget operators. In response, the company began its Safer School Coach Travel Campaign after being concerned with the number of local schools hiring coach travel suppliers which don't follow the necessary rigorous tests and safety procedures. At the centre of the campaign is a video explaining why schools should always book with a reputable coach operator. The video was promoted on social media and sent to key Chairman of Governors in the area, who the company identified as the key decision makers since they have the legal responsibility for the safety of school pupils and hold the purse strings. The campaign opened dialogue with a number of schools and received a favourable reaction from local authorities.
Who could be nominated?
This category was open to coach operators 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.