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The Caterer

Best Independent Marketing Campaign

08 July 2004
Best Independent Marketing Campaign

Sponsored by Autograph Foodservice

Warren House

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With so many contenders for the Best Independent Marketing Campaign award, there was a real mix of opinion among the judges, but in the end it was the entry from Warren House, a stand-alone conference centre business in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>

Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, that won out. The judges, who were looking for the most enterprising and effective campaign run by a single-unit hospitality business over the previous 12 months, were impressed by Warren House's simple approach. They praised the campaign for its clear objectives, based on thorough customer research, and the clearly quantifiable results, which were all the more impressive considering the modest budget. The primary objective of Warren House's campaign was to increase occupancy levels above the achieved level of 62% and exceed the sales budget for the final quarter of the trading year to 30 April 2004 by 10%. The secondary objective was to continue the 10% increase in sales through the following trading year to May 2005. One of the judges, John Pallagi, who won the award last year for his restaurant and lounge bar Room, in Leeds, commented: "It both hit objectives and came in under budget. That's what marketing is all about." Fellow judge Bill Vickers agreed. "It's bang on target Ð simple stuff. It was a very clear set of objectives, the marketing campaign was clearly linked to the objectives, and the results were borne out. The value of what theyÕve done is fantastic," he said. Customer research indicated that the core focus of the campaign should be to increase both day and residential business on Mondays, Fridays and at weekends. To drum up business in the short term, the company distributed a ‘loyalty chequebook' to key clients which contained discount vouchers for day delegates for events scheduled within a four-week period. A related scheme enabled businesses to book events further in advance at the special rates if they were on a Friday or Monday. Warren House has achieved some impressive results and easily achieved its primary goal, with business in January and February 2004 up by 26.6% and 21.59% respectively. The company is confident it will record growth of more than 10% for the trading year to May 2005. And its sound use of third-party marketing, working closely with two training firms that shared a similar client base, helped keep the marketing spend below £2,000. The Best Independent Marketing Campaign award is open to any single-unit hotel, pub, restaurant or other catering outlet directly controlled by the owner. Individual outlets belonging to chains are not eligible, although individually owned hotels that are members of consortia may enter.
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