IHG, are a global hotel company, operating 11 brands in nearly 100 countries around the world. The project focused on the delivery of 40 hotel websites within the IHG Company Managed Hotels UK&I, including separate branding as required for Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.
One of the key considerations was the need to allow global control, for head office brand campaigns, branding guidelines and promotional messaging to be pushed out to the local sites, from a single global control. In the meantime, the local hotels themselves also had local controls to promote a full localised ‘What’s On’ and ‘Offers’ section to their sites, as well as local promotional banners.
A fundamental part of the project was the CMS and how different tiered users would have access to make Global / Local / Administrative changes linked to their user permissions and access. There was a requirement to have the CMS allow the ability to make single changes at a global level which would cascade down to all or groups of hotels as required.
Ultimately the main objectives were to increase 'look to book' ratio, true booking conversions and room revenues. Alongside this, to optimise the site fully , Equator aimed to also improve site speed, download times, multi-lingual capabilities and provide full SEO management.
Due to the complexity of the global and local controls required across multiple components within the sites, we needed to carry out development within the CMS to allow for not only dual branding, but Global and Local configuration from a single platform.
Global Configuration meant that initial set-up for a master hotel could be completed allowing changes to be done in one place globally then flow down to local level for every hotel. Priority could also be given to global components versus local components, which meant each hotel site was kept on brand. We also developed global clusters allowing hotels across brand to be grouped together and components assigned to each group. This allowed for targeted promotions to be set up against a cluster and applied only to those hotels. Content variables (short-codes) were used to ensure that global content could be used, and would dynamically adapt it's values to make the content applicable to that hotel.
Success at brand, global and local level.
The brand switch allowed for hotels to be attached to a brand, either Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza. This controlled the design templates the site would use including layout, colour schemes and fonts used.
Local Configuration allowed the hotels to protect their own pages and shield them from global changes. Locally hotels could also create their own pages, offers, banners, and components for their ‘What’s On’ section.
We succeeded in delivering a very impactful and engaging, customisable website for IHG which gave the client the level of control they needed at Brand, Global and Local level for all their hotels. All 40 hotel websites are built on the ‘open source’ CMS Umbraco and the entire project was completed on time and on budget.