Butlins updates image via 'plush' Bognor hotel -

Campaign: Butlins Shoreline Hotel launch Client: Bourne Leisure PR team: Launch PR/in-house Timescale: 2 May-26 August 2005 Budget: £30,000

Having bought Butlins from The Rank Organisation in 2001, Bourne Leisure

conducted research which found visitors wanted more 'stylish'

accommodation. It invested £10m in the construction of its first

hotel - the Shoreline Hotel - at the Bognor Regis resort and hired

Launch PR to unveil it.

Objectives

To create a newsworthy story that challenged traditional perceptions of

Butlins and to drive bookings.

Strategy and Plan

Realising that a hotel launch was not newsworthy in itself, and mindful

that the media might have an indifferent attitude to Butlins, Launch PR

decided to target news and travel sections by juxtaposing 'old'

Butlins - literally - with the new.

It built a replica 1930s Butlins chalet in the garden outside the

Shoreline Hotel, complete with furniture and fittings, so journalists

attending the 16 August opening could see for themselves how different

the new accommodation - with king-sized beds and plasma TVs - was.

Pinpointing B-group families as potential new customers, as well as

Butlins' traditional C1, C2 and D demographic, the team used 'from

chalet to Shoreline' as its slogan.

Invitations depicting a chalet alongside the Shoreline logo were sent to

news, travel, consumer affairs and features editors on all national

publications, trade and consumer magazines in mid-July. Two weeks later,

60 sets of Shoreline-branded bathrobes and slippers were sent to

national newspaper and consumer magazine travel editors, as well as

trade magazines, hinting at the plush service at the new hotel.

Launch followed this up by pitching directly to journalists, while the

in-house team focused on trade media. Journalists were treated to a day

of activities at the Shoreline, including live entertainment from

Shaolin monks, African and Russian acrobats and a photocall with

redcoats.

Tours of the hotel and interviews with Butlins MD John Dunford,

entertainments director Mike Godolphin and operations director Richard

Bates were also arranged.

Measurement and Evaluation

Romeike counted 29 articles in national newspapers including The Times,

The Sun, Daily Star, The Independent and Daily Mail. National

broadcasters including BBC TV, Radio 1, 2 and 4, ITV and Five covered

the event,as did consumer and trade magazines.

Web coverage featured on visitbritain.com, iVillage.co.uk, Guardian

Unlimited and bbc.co.uk. Launch claims that all mentions of the

accommodation were positive.

Results

Eighty-eight journalists attended the launch and the 160-room hotel was

fully booked for its first month within a week of going live. This was

against fears that it would not sell out at all.

More than £17,000 worth of bookings were made at the £79 a

night hotel on the first day alone. Butlins is reportedly considering

two more hotels at its Minehead and Skegness property.

The Sun travel editor Lisa Minot says: 'The PR agency made an effort to

give us an exclusive story about a couple who had been to the resort 50

years earlier and returned for their 50th wedding anniversary. The

chalet idea worked well because it gained Butlins coverage in papers

such as The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.'

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