UK hotel chain Premier Travel Inn plans to spend 22 million BPS (almost 45 million US$) on a big, strategic, compelling branding initiative intended to drive its business (read the announcement here).
They're dropping the word 'travel' from the name.
What will this mean for consumers? Well, by reducing the corporate name by 1/3, it will be easier to remember. 'Travel' was always a bit redundant, what with the 'inn' already in the moniker.
There are probably cost-savings to be had, too: signs can be made smaller, and lighting them will cost less; perhaps a smaller logo will use less paper and ink on statements and correspondence; stitching the logo on company uniforms will require fewer spools of thread.
Funny enough, the hotel chain went through a similarly visionary re-branding exercise in 2004. That time, the owners at parent company Whitbread added the 'travel' to the name. Now they want to remove it. The hipster brand design firms have already been announced, as has the firm that will place ads online and off. And I’ve stayed at Premier Travel Inns, both in and outside of London. They have great signage, so they know what they’re doing in this regard. It'll look just grand.
So what will the new brand name mean for consumers? Nothing, of course.
The re-branding has not been conceived (or will be communicated) as anything substantial. Premier's marketing director is overseeing the effort, so it won't involve changes in facilities, services, benefits, or employee training and retention. The hotels won't do anything differently to warrant the new name, or which will differentiate it from its competitors. The pillows won't be fluffier, or the Internet access free-er.
Of course, we'll all be made aware of the new brand. We'll read about it in the papers, and perhaps chuckle at witty new TV spots or Internet videos. But the only real behaviors that the new brand will prompt will be all of the branding consultants joyfully spending Whitbread's money. It's good work if you can get it.
Expect another change in 36 months or so. The chain will be sold. A new marketing director will immediately recommend a new branding campaign (maybe reducing the name simply to 'Premier,' or adding 'travel' back to it). The current team will have moved on to other jobs, where they'll likely prompt new branding initiatives. Agencies will trade clients. Glasses will clink at expense account dinners in celebration of the millions spent, over and over.
Like I said, it's good work if you can get it. But will it have any impact on whether you or I make that next reservation with them?
This dim bulb thinks not.