Accor Hotels' first UK TV advertisements will go live next month to promote its rebranded budget Ibis hotel chain as part of a 30 million euro global campaign.
The advertising campaign alongside internal refurbishments of its three new Ibis branded hotels form part of French parent company Accor's attempt to lift standards of budget accommodation and steal a march on UK competitors Premier Inn and Travelodge.
The campaign goes live in 56 countries on October 3, with ads spread across UK TV channels for three weeks during peak viewing times, supported by press advertising in national newspapers, to increase brand awareness and showcase the company's innovation.
Accor announced the creation of three budget Ibis brands worldwide a year ago, with two new brands, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget, added to its existing Ibis brand.
In the UK the rebrand of its All Seasons hotels under the new Ibis Styles brand and its Etap Hotels as Ibis Budget hotels began in April and will be completed by the end of the year.
New public areas and beds will also be rolled out across all its Ibis hotels by the end of the year. It currently has 56 Ibis hotels in the UK; with two more opening in October, three Ibis Styles properties and 18 Ibis Budget hotels.
In total the group is spending 150 million euros on the global revamp, including its 'new generation' bed called the Sweet Bed by Ibis/ Ibis Styles/ Ibis Budget . It claims to be the first hotelier to design a bed completely from scratch, following a study showing 70% of guests rank comfortable beds as the single most important factor when booking budget hotels. It involved months of research with doctors and sleep experts.
The new public areas of its Ibis and Ibis Budget hotels have open plan reception, bar and seating areas. The first new public area will be visible at Ibis Blackfriars in London from October 1.
Thomas Dubaere, managing director of Accor UK and Ireland, said: "Normally with a rebrand it takes three to four years. We wanted to lift our differentiated products higher than they are now and we wanted to be consistent and speedy. We have added a luxury 'sparkle' and more comfort."
He added: "The new bed concept is a crucial part of the rebrand to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. People want an experience and affordable design in the economy hotel brand."
Although focused on direct sales, Dubaere said travel agents remained "important" in its distribution mix.
On a broader scale, Accor plans to expand its total number of hotels in the UK from 188 to 300 by 2015. Around half of the new hotels will be Ibis branded and the majority of the rest will be for its Mercure brand with some new Pullman and Novotel properties. These will be a mix of franchise, new builds and conversions. Its first Pullman hotel in the UK opened this month in St Pancras, London.
The Ibis branded hotels are full-service brands, where the price includes breakfast; the Ibis Styles brand is also full-service but the interiors vary depending on location to reflect some of the history or culture of their location; the Ibis Budget hotels do not feature restaurants or bar areas and customers pay for room-only, with separate payment for breakfast if desired.
The company is also launching an additional web portal, ibis.com, on September 26 to showcase its three Ibis brands.