For 30 years the leisure industry in Northern Ireland had to combat image problems stemming from 'the troubles'. With the cessation of widespread terrorist violence following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998, Hastings Hotels wanted to boost its business.

However, it wasn't a simple challenge, as the number of hotel rooms in Northern Ireland has increased by 58% in a decade with Hilton, Holiday Inn and Jury's now competing for the value/budget market.

Hastings had historically attracted infrequent bookings from people interested in golf thanks to its sites close to some of the province's top golf courses.

It created the Royal Tour featuring Royal County Down, which hosted the British Open in 1952, Royal Portrush and Royal Belfast, as well as top quality hotel accommodation.

The campaign set out to build on the growing popularity of golf and market Hastings Hotels as the perfect golfing holiday partner. AV Browne was briefed to generate enough enquiries to achieve 120 room nights in order for Hastings Hotels to fund ongoing marketing activity.

The target audience was active golfers from Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. It concentrated the budget on the television coverage of the Seniors British Open - hosted in 2000 at the Royal County Down course, the home of Hastings' The Slieve Donard Hotel.

Editorial coverage on Sky would provide viewers with a taste of the scenery and the quality of the course, while 17 ad spots in live and highlights programmes during the four-day tournament would persuade them to visit.

In effect, the coverage became a 16-hour advert for the hotel chain.

Instant enquiries generated 273 room nights and gross revenue of £45,500.

It is estimated that the campaign generated a profit of £17,312.75 based on a media expenditure of £5000 and production costs of £7000.

A tactical press campaign was built upon the endorsement of the Seniors Tour and the TV campaign was repeated during the 2001 Seniors Open, with double the media spend.

Prior to the launch of the Royal Tour, the group's golf bookings averaged 472 room nights a year. In 2001 the company generated 1533 room nights, and the current forecast for 2002 is 2350 room nights.


Campaign: Hastings Hotels golfing breaks in Northern Ireland

Agency: AV Browne Advertising

Client: Hastings Hotels

Creative Director: Mike Fleming

Art Directors: Mike Fleming, Jim Brown

Copywriter: Mike Fleming

Film Director: Suki Commercials Unlimited

Advertising Manager: Julie Maguire

Authors: Mike Fleming, Sam McIlveen, Julie Maguire


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