Emma Harris, sales & marketing director, Eurostar
Marketing: Has the recession impacted your marketing?
Harris: We did a national survey at the end of 2008 on how people’s relationship with travel had changed. In past it’s been about exploring but recession travel is about needing to reconnect with people and loved ones. So we came up with the ‘Little break, big difference’ campaign that has run ever since in press, online, radio and outdoor.
Marketing: Has your brand’s positioning changed since the start of the recession?
Harris: Our messaging was changed slightly as we’ve leaned into the recession. When you face queuing up at airports, you’re exhausted. And it’s also about price – ‘Little break’ was the first time we talked about price with a supporting call to action.
Marketing: Where have you focused your budget, channel wise?
Harris: We have massively upped our spend on digital this year, because it’s by far our best fulfilling channel, from an ROI point of view. For that reason, pay-per-click (PPC) and banner direct response ads have been the bedrock of our marketing. But you also have to create big impact with multimedia messaging, so the online DR activity has been supported by outdoor, press and radio.
Marketing: What about TV?
Harris: We haven’t been on TV since 2007, due pressure on budgets with our move to King’s Cross. But because of that move we needed to spend on TV to create awareness. So we’ve gone back on TV – a brave move in this climate but we’re doing okay as a business – our product has improved over the past year with the move to St Pancras. Airports are getting harder and rail is getting quicker, city centre to city centre.
We’ve got two years before the Olympics and two years before we have a competitor [London to Germany]. It’s about taking people further – but there is this level of anxiety if you have to change trains. Now it’s our job to tell people it’s easy. The TV ads supported by outdoor, radio and online, are about destinations other than Paris and Brussels. It’s important for us to start leading that change of behaviour now.
Marketing: Has the recession given procurement more power?
Harris: Inevitably it has. I straddle sales and marketing and we are working hard with our buyers to make sure they are not one-dimensional. We work with econometrics specialists to predict our ROI and it’s about 8:1. If anything in a recession you have to maintain your spend on your marketing. People who do pull back on their marketing spend come out of recessions slower.