Daring to be different


We’ve worked with stylish hotel brand Malmaison for over seven years, using integration to combat the rise of online travel agents and building a website that genuinely reflects the brand.

One of the UK’s most stylish and distinctive travel brands

Operating 16 boutique hotels from Aberdeen to Brighton, the chain is known for glamorous and distinctive design, as well as great bars and restaurants. In a series of projects, we’ve transformed the way the brand looks, feels and works online.

Can we help your brand too?

Our work for Malmaison has consistently married creative flair with hard-nosed, analytical savvy. If you’d like to see how we could do the same for your brand, get in touch.

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Beating the OTAs with integration

By the end of 2016, the rise of online travel agents (OTAs) and significant changes in the search landscape was posing a real challenge to Malmaison’s profits.


We deployed an integrated marketing strategy combining PPC, SEO, Affiliates and Display expertise. Traditional strategies were scrutinised to maximise year-round returns and turn periods of low occupancy into revenue-building opportunities.

Implementing the technology

Using Umbraco, we’ve been able to support our client through multiple evolutions, delivering exceptional return on the original investment. Our booking engine design integrates fully with Opera for real-time availability and pricing and covers restaurant tables, events, spas and gift vouchers as well as the core room-booking function. A multi-platform configuration, the same Umbraco component structure supports both Malmaison and sister brand Hotel Du Vin.

We looked after Malmaison’s Sister too

Creating these two sites on a single platform would mean content management would be more efficient and CRO enhancements could be quickly implemented across both brands.


This was no mean feat - every one of Hotel Du Vin’s 19 locations have a unique character and style. The modular system, therefore, had to handle the two brands as well as 19 variations on the HDV theme. Using a modular design system and architecture in Umbraco, we were able to implement a successful and seamless solution. A result that was loved by the brand team, admin team and customers alike.

From drab to fab - a website that embodies the brand

Malmaison’s distinctive hotels are stylish and unique, but the boring old website didn’t live up to the image. They needed something daring and unconventional that would embody their brand - and reflect the experience of staying at a Mal. A dream brief for Equator.


But while allowing our creative impulse free rein, we had to balance provocative design with ease of use. We cut out the clutter, simplified navigation and made booking easy. Ditching the price messaging that dominates traditional hotel web design, we connected with people’s desire for a special treat. And adopting a ‘mobile-first’ approach made it work for the growing number of visitors using phones and tablets.

People loved the new website

Bounce rates dropped and conversion soared. Breaking from the norm paid off, with mobile revenue 75% above the industry average.

Our integrated marketing strategy smashed targets, with year-on-year bookings and revenue up 35%.

We also launched the brand’s first programmatic display campaign to prevent it being drowned out by the big OTAs.

“A gorgeous website that genuinely reflects Malmaison’s unique style.”