Building the most innovative hotel brand

Village Hotels

Over fifteen years of working with Village Hotels we’ve become a valued partner, strategic mentor, team extension and all-round inspiration.

A mould-breaking, fast-growing UK hotel brand

Equator started working with Village in 2005, and we’ve now been with them through three rebrands and four changes of ownership.

Village Hotels operates 31 locations throughout the UK, with an amazing proposition of five-star facilities at highly competitive rates. Each location has a great gym as well as spa, dining and entertainment facilities reaching out to the wider local leisure and business markets.

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“We worked with Amazon’s engineers to create the world’s first in-room virtual concierge.”

How we’re more than just an agency for Village

Our work with Village demonstrates how we can do much more than an ordinary digital agency - or any other kind of agency for that matter. Over nearly fifteen years we’ve been consistently proactive and imaginative in our contribution to the growing business, addressing challenges and exploiting opportunities not just when briefed to do so, but whenever we knew we could add value.

Here are just a few of the projects, initiatives and ideas we’ve produced for Village in recent years, along with the numbers that matter.

Ask Village

Projects & Ideas

In a world first, we worked with Amazon’s own engineers to programme Echo Dots to respond to tailored questions from hotel guests. If you want to check gym times, book a taxi or get a hangover cure, you don’t need to call reception.

At Village Portsmouth, you can just ask Alexa. The experiment has received positive feedback from guests and staff, and will help the brand maintain and develop its leading position as the forward-thinking, switched-on hotel brand.

Reimagined Customer Experience

Projects & Ideas

In 2016 we replaced every part of Village’s website, from front-end design to the reservation and rate management structures that work away behind the public-facing pages.

The project achieved an improved average conversion rate of more than 13%, and a 21:1 ROI, all within six months of launch.

14% increase on funnel conversion

13% overall average conversion

34% increase in bookings, year on year

21:1 ROI in first six months

29% increase in revenue, YOY

27% ROI increase, YOY

Seen on screen

Projects & Ideas

For Village, the cost of pop-up stands and leaflets was creeping towards seven figures when we offered a digital alternative. We sourced smart totem screens for every lobby in the network, instantly clearing reception areas of untidy and quickly redundant printed material while saving serious amounts of money.

Connected to our multiple cloud system, the Totems allow marketing messages to be updated in real time. Staff at the hotel or Village’s HQ can promote upgrades, seasonal offers, special events and more, responding instantly to availability and demand.

Consorting with pirates

Projects & Ideas

We invented a brand new way to do affiliate marketing for a collaboration between Village Hotels and Holiday Pirates, a travel promotion business that markets great one-off deals. Instead of the usual cost-per-action model we suggested a fixed-rate fee, with five major interactions throughout the course of a year, and no commission.

Improving KPIs on PPCs

Projects & Ideas

Faced with the challenge of driving more direct online bookings via pay-per-click activity while achieving a strong ROI, we expanded keyword lists, promoted offers and incentives, and implemented an aggressive bidding strategy for strong presence and top-of-page position.


During 2015 alone we achieved - 12% increase in PPC bookings - 13% increase in revenue accumulated through PPC - 24% improvement in PPC conversion, year on year - 4% reduction in CPC thanks to bidding strategy - 31% increase in ROI, year on year.

Growing SEO, year after year

Projects & Ideas

With Google continuously updating its algorithms, SEO is the ultimate moveable feast. A site that was fully optimised a year or two ago probably won’t be now.

For Village Hotels, we’ve pioneered a strategy of continuous, on and off-page optimisation to increase visibility and market share. By building a mobile-friendly site with improved crawl efficiency, better links and higher core keyword rankings, we’ve achieved some very impressive year-on-year figures.

Implementing the technology

We used extensive ‘headless’ CMS architecture to power a whole raft of technologies, including the booking engine, Alexa, and totem screens. This gives us the capacity to integrate future tech when it’s available. Our CMS included personalisation capabilities for customised interactions based on viewing patterns, source of traffic, and even the weather. 


We designed the booking engine to be extendable, which meant we could support Village when they migrated their hotels from Opera to Hetras platforms. In the event we ran both engines at the same time, in the same UX, during the switchover period.

Class leading performance

37,000 clicks to site 

1,504 bookings 

22% increase in organic traffic

43% increase in bookings

17% increase in conversion rate

47% increase in SEO-generated revenue