Making waves with a new website for Hotel Group of the Year 2018, Harbour Hotels.

A fast-growing hotel group with 17 hotels and more in the pipeline, you can find a Harbour Hotel in many of the most unique and beautiful corners of the South Coast. Unparalleled views, a fun and immersive atmosphere and outstanding food and drink sets Harbour Hotels Group apart, so it’s no surprise that they are going from strength to strength.

We kicked off our partnership with Harbour Hotels in September 2018, when we were approached with the brief: a new website that drives higher direct bookings and increased conversion rates for rooms, tables and spa bookings, as well as a faster and more advanced CMS and responsive front-end experience that would allow for future growth online. The group had marked a new chapter in their story with a new vision in the hotels’ interior design which was bold, exciting and stylish and it was time that the new website lived up to the same standards.

The brief was right up our street. We won the pitch and put our excited team to work straight away! 

Objectives:

With only 30% of bookings made direct through the website, the primary goal was to increase the direct bookings online, reducing those made through the OTA and 3rd party websites such as Booking.com. The key here would be user experience and ensuring the flow to book was quick and easy through all routes

A responsive site that suited the groups large mobile demographic – at every screen size the experience must be the very best it can be

An intelligent and scalable site with the capability of integrating with multiple booking engine APIs and one that must be powered by a robust CMS for in-house content management 

A site that must ‘storytell’ and sell the Harbour experience by way of a striking design, rich video content and beautiful imagery that allow a guest to imagine themselves sipping champagne on the hotel deck before they have even booked!

Process:

 

  1. Discovery and audience mapping workshops involving stakeholders from multiple hotels who work in disciplines across the group’s entire estate

  2. Local, regional and global competitor research was performed to understand the online position the group needed to hold going forwards

  3. In depth analysis of website statistics, booking conversion funnels and real-time heat mapping to set KPIs for user engagement on the new site

  4. Site map and user flows created to structure the group pages, individual venue modules and the way each user type will interact along their journeys

  5. Interactive wireframe prototyping performed in a live testing environment where scripted user flows were carried out by a variety of user groups 

  6. Three phases of user experience design, informed by the interactive prototyping. Each were presented at board level to Harbour Hotels Group for full stakeholder sign off.

  7. Site build - a skilled team of one front end and two full stack developers lead by a project technical lead built the site in the Laravel framework with many bespoke, hospitality-specific functionalities employed to allow for the most intuitive CMS and front-end experience possible

  8. Partnerships with multiple hospitality booking engines – Avenista, GiftPro, Premier Spa, Travelclick and one bespoke room booking platform. We look to integrate with more in the coming twelve months

  9. Full user testing and content population phase, collaborating closely with a structured project team from Harbour Hotels, led by the agency Account Director

  10. Partnership with specialist search agency to lead the SEO, redirect and launch strategy for the new site

Website was launched on 22nd May 2019. We popped a few bottles of champagne to celebrate!

16 %
Increase in users

year on year in first full month live

53 %
Reduction in bounce rate

year on year in first full month live

Results:

 

  • A staggering 53% reduction in bounce rate year on year in first full month live 

  • Users up by 16% year on year in first full month live

  • Organic search up 15% in first full month live

  • Positive social media feedback on announcement of the new site launch

  • A fast and powerful CMS that the entire marketing team can administer on a daily basis – before, all site changes had to be done by the incumbent agency

The Escape are the most professional agency I have ever worked with. The quality of their team, and the quality of the output, was exceptional from start to finish.
Matthew Roach, Head of Marketing

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