Village Hotels is a unique chain of UK hotels with market-leading gyms, popular bars and Starbucks cafés that standout wherever they are. Village is a client of Equator’s for over 10 years and that relationship has been built on trust, collaboration and results. So, when Marketing wanted to get their print costs down and to regain control of the marketing message (and the presentation), they turned to us to see if we could innovate our way to a solution.
As well as stripping out a lot of old print and popups, Village were keen to bring the messaging control back to the central marketing team. We knew we could make a smarter smart screen, one that was flexible, inexpensive, controllable and visually engaging.
Future proofed and flexible smart screens.
Village had already been sold on the idea of a screen to replace their marketing collateral. Offered up by their incumbent print supplier, the solution was a straightforward switch. Take print literature, present it on a screen in a slide show format. Oh - and pay over the odds for the screen and for an annual software license, which was bordering on the criminal.
We had a better idea. In fact, we had many. We knew that we could get better hardware for less cost. We knew we could deliver Village a content management platform without hideous license fees. And we knew we could do a LOT more for the money that made these screens truly smart.
Contemporary innovation is in the cloud.
We made many connections with contemporary technology in developing this solution. Firstly, we built the entire solution atop the Umbraco CMS which Village had used for years to manage their website. This meant rapid deployment, no learning curve and, critically, no licencing costs. We then connected our solution to multiple cloud systems. We wanted the marketing messages to adapt to the weather, the time of day, or even real time availability. Promoting Ice Tea on a hot day, dinner at dinnertime, upgrades only when they’re available. We wanted this solution to offer Village capabilities not found elsewhere. And, to future proof it, we went further and specified touchscreen displays – BIG 70” displays – with superbright screens. Not only was our solution visible from half a mile away, when you get up close, we built in the power to interact. This flexibility allows us to build in guest interactivity, front of house servicing capabilities and more, all for a cost which was still 20% lower than the solution first proposed.
Heavily reduced print costs and regain of control.
Since the adoption of our smart totems across the Village network, print budgets have been slashed by a six-figure number. Central Marketing control all the messaging and can update them in real time. Every reception is no longer cluttered with multiple popups and flyers and the guest experience is far more positive. Hundreds of hours have been saved by centralizing control and stripping out the need for print design and General Managers are reporting a higher level of engagement with the screens than was ever seen with the old print media. Not to mention, innumerable trees have been saved from a grim leaflet death. Money saved. Time saved. Guests happy. Sales up.