Macdonald Hotels briefed Equator as they felt that their current site was not delivering in terms of usability or results. There was a requirement to streamline the booking process as well as put greater focus on the other areas for revenue growth. They wanted to make more of a feature of their Golf, Spa, Weddings, Business and Food & Drink facilities.
We were tasked with creating a new Macdonald Hotels' website that would meet the following requirements:
- Simplify and improve the customer journey
- Create a forward thinking website that differentiated Macdonald Hotels from their competitors
- Grow bookings and revenue through the site
Initial research into hotel website bookers revealed that mobile and tablet visits were increasing exponentially, but were generally badly catered for in the sector.
Creating a site that delivered an effortless experience on all devices would allow Macdonald to capitalise on this huge, and growing, opportunity.
At the time "responsive design" was what everyone was talking about but very few were able to do. We were taking on the challenge to build one of the first big responsive sites in the world.
Overcoming the challenges
One of our challenges was maintaining a first-class experience across all devices. Macdonald wanted to be seen as more premium than competitors by offering a diverse range of hotels (from luxury hotels, to country houses, to boutique city centre locations), along with high quality food and drink and additional packages.
This from-the-ground-up redesign meant a complete rethink of our usual design process. User- testing the wireframes on various devices in order to ensure a high-quality experience was delivered across all of them.
We also embarked on the very weighty task of completely re-writing the site's 600+ pages to have a stronger personality, be better suited to on-screen reading and be much more SEO-enriched.
Through thorough usability testing of Macdonald Hotels' old site, competitor sites and by testing the new site throughout development, Equator were able to ensure responsiveness, develop a new booking process and devise a new booking component.
Within mere months, the site had paid for itself
In the 9 months after the new responsive Macdonald Hotels site launched, booking revenues had increased by almost £1.5 million, despite fewer people holidaying in a wavering marketplace, fraught with recession.
Equator's new site for Macdonald Hotels has managed to defy the market by increasing average booking revenue by 8%. Not only that, but Macdonald Hotels was one of the first hotel sites in the world to go live with fully responsive functionality on all devices.
The press have been quick to pick up on this exciting project - It was recently showcased on UXBooth.com (the web's leading publication written by and for user experience designers) and in The Financial Times.
Not only did we pioneer a ground-breaking responsive design, we also defied the economic downturn and helped Macdonald Hotels improve their revenue.