Sykes Holiday Cottages finds TV is the perfect place


Key Points

  • Sykes wanted to raise brand awareness, increase consideration and drive sales
  • They used regional TV with a carefully monitored campaign
  • As a result, they achieved a significant uplift in awareness and consideration

The Challenge

Sykes Holiday Cottages have been around for over 25 years, offering customers a huge range of more than 12,000 holiday homes to rent across the UK and Ireland – from cosy cottages for two to larger properties that sleep 20 or more.   

Previously, Sykes relied heavily on PPC and online marketing to drive sales. However, in 2017, they wanted to grow the business and become a household name so they knew they needed to change their strategy. The key objectives were to:

  • raise brand awareness
  • showcase the breadth of destinations throughout the UK
  • highlight the range of experiences available on a holiday at home
  • achieve a return on investment
  • have a competitive market share

The campaign was due to run from Boxing Day to mid-January, during the peak period for holiday booking, so needed to have cut-through in a crowded travel advertising space.

The Solution

Sykes tasked their agency, Media Agency Group, to come up with the right solution to help them achieve their objectives. Media Agency Group (MAG) knew that TV was the best option for creating brand awareness and increasing consideration. Because Sykes had never advertised on TV before, MAG recommended a linear, regional TV plan. This meant that they were able to track and optimise the campaign as they went along, seeing business and marketing results by region and so could take learnings forward to a second, stronger campaign.

MAG analysed the best time of year to advertise looking at schedules and competitor activity and decided that December/January would be the optimum time. Audience analysis showed that there was a female skew to the target and so housepersons became the buying audience.

The Plan

MAG decided a regional TV campaign would be preferable, so that they could see the impact of the TV advertising in each region and also have control regions where there was no advertising in order to have a comparison.

To choose which regions, they used Experian Audience Data heat mapped onto TV regions combined with Sykes’ first party data.  As a result of this analysis, they opted for ITV North, ITV Central East, Channel 4 North and Channel 4 Midlands.

They launched with their brand new 30 second TV spot on 26th December. This was a heavyweight campaign until mid-January to capitalise on consumers being off work for Christmas and coinciding with the time when holiday consideration is highest. From mid-January to mid-February, they continued advertising but at a lower weight with a pulse strategy. 

The campaign was tracked on a weekly basis to gain a full understanding of how spots were performing and which ones were generating leads. For example, The Chase and Emmerdale performed particularly well.  In this way, they could see which spots, channels, dayparts and programmes were the most cost effective. They closely monitored all activity and optimised where possible throughout the campaign, moving spots around to get the best results for Sykes.


  • Achieved the minimum goal of 15% share of voice within their competitor set
  • TV activity drove incremental bookings and so provided a positive ROI on lifetime value
  • TV provided a statistically significant uplift in brand awareness and consideration within the exposed regions
  • They got 53.4 million adults impacts
  • There were 21,363 attributed leads
  • There were 128,000 incremental branded sessions online 


Sector: Travel

Brand: Sykes Holiday Cottages

Campaign objectives: To drive brand awareness and increase consideration

Target Audience: housepersons

Budget: £300,000

Campaign Dates: 26th December 2017 to 23rd February 2018

TV Usage: 30 Second Spots

Creative Agency: Hurricane Media

Media Agency:  Media Agency Group


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