Premier Inn Partners With Yext to Improve Visibility in Search and to Drive Bookings
With over 700 locations, and more than 60,000 rooms, Premier Inn is the United Kingdom’s largest and most popular hotel chain. “Our customers are the everyday travelers interested in great value and great locations, and a brand they can trust,” explains Naz Mehrzad, Head of Acquisition. While Premier Inn is an established U.K. hospitality brand, it is focused on keeping a fresh, innovative approach to providing its guests with a great experience. One such initiative was the launch of a new hotel format called hub by Premier Inn, which provides travelers with the opportunity to stay in digitally connected rooms in unbeatable city-centre locations at low prices. Premier Inn has also continued to focus on expansion opportunities, particularly in Germany.
Since Mehrzad is responsible for all customer acquisition via metasearch channels — including Google and TripAdvisor — he has become an expert on the customer search experience. Hyper-connected consumers are searching for hotels on the go, and Mehrzad recognized the paramount importance of search discoverability for the overall customer experience.
It should come as no surprise that Google is a huge part of Premier Inn’s revamped digital marketing strategy. “Google is absolutely enormous in the U.K., probably even more so than it is in the U.S. We generate the majority of our revenue via AdWords or search engine optimization (SEO) through Google. In the last year and a half Google My Business for SEO has become a much more important part of that mix,” shares Mehrzad. “Accordingly, we have been taking an active role in managing our Google pages.” Google My Business directly links to Google Hotel Ads, which is a specific Google product for the hotel industry, similar to Google product listings and Google flight search. “Through Google Hotel Ads we can send pricing and availability, and we can bid for position, but we can’t determine whether we appear,” explains Mehrzad. “Google has always said managing your content on Google My Business should help with impressions, so ensuring that the correct content is on that platform is important to us. Before Yext we were spending manual effort to ensure our presence was consistent and our locations, images, descriptions, and so forth were correct.”
Mehrzad and his team had been managing Google My Business manually for about a year, but they recognized their efforts were neither efficient nor sustainable. “It was time consuming making changes on a regular basis, and it was difficult managing all of our properties through Google My Business,” recalls Mehrzad. “We had to think about how to keep doing things consistently and thoroughly, and at scale. Correcting all our properties in Google My Business the first time required a fully dedicated resource, and we knew we were going to have to keep correcting the information in the ecosystem. The problem wasn’t going away.”
Mehrzad was also aware that the consumer search experience is made up of much more than just Google. Premier Inn needed to be updating and managing its brand information in many other directories across the web. “We realized that if we were going to increase our ranking further, we needed to ensure we had consistent information everywhere, not just on Google. We thought we needed to look at Apple Maps, Bing, and Yelp and establish similar relationships individually with these sites, but then Yext came on my radar.” Yext enables brands like Premier Inn to manage their public-facing information across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire Knowledge Network — more than 150 maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo.
With Yext, Premier Inn launched 350 of its U.K. locations with the Yext Knowledge Network. At launch, Yext helped Premier Inn bolster its presence across search experiences, adding 4,800+ listings (55% net new). Yext swiftly updated 16,000+ addresses, correcting the 73% pre-Yext launch address error occurrence. Yext has also enabled Premier Inn to add enhanced content, including more than 16,000 website URLS, 100,000 logos and photos, and 26,000 business descriptions. This massive overhaul of Premier Inn’s brand information helped the hospitality business achieve an increase in local search presence.
Premier Inn places great importance on its brand reputation and customer satisfaction. In light of this, Premier Inn made use of Yext’s capabilities to monitor reviews across social sites like Facebook and Yelp. Yext pulls in all online reviews posted about each hotel location in real time, and then feeds the reviews into one comprehensive dashboard where Premier Inn’s marketing team and local hotel managers can easily monitor their customers’ social engagement — and they can respond directly from the platform. “Not only do we want to resolve customer issues, but we also want to leverage the information to improve our operations,” adds Mehrzad.
Indeed, online reviews remain a vital element of the customer search and decision process for Premier Inn, and the hospitality industry at large. Notes Mehrzad, “Although we came to Yext originally for its Listings solution, we were pleased to learn how the Search Experience Cloud could help us improve our review monitoring process to create an even better customer experience.”
Mehrzad subsequently expanded Premier Inn’s Yext partnership to incorporate social pages into the solution — Facebook location Pages in particular. “Our Yext team actually put Facebook listings on our radar, which was fantastic because it’s been an unexpectedly large area of engagement for us.”
Premier Inn is focused on leveraging its updated and verified brand information to improve impressions, views, and clicks — and ultimately drive more bookings across its hotels. “Yext provides the essential foundation for the public facts about our brand, and ensures that our hotels always appear in local search, which helps our Google Hotel Ads perform well, which in turn drives our revenue.”
Mehrzad and his team are just as pleased with the quality of the Yext team as they are with the actual capabilities of Yext. “I’ve been really impressed thus far. I think the caliber of individuals at Yext is first rate. They are incredibly responsive and intelligent, second to none.”