Updated website combines creativity and technology expertise to drive revenue and margins while reinforcing the rebrand
In the era of digitisation, the public expects an organisation's website to enable transactions. The organisation itself expects its website not simply to be an attractive front door to its operations but to actually drive revenue.
For a business like an international leisure group that differentiates its iconic resorts and facilities by providing an unusual blend of five star luxury and experiential entertainment, its website has to drive revenue by providing a similarly iconic online experience.
To achieve this, the website's look, feel, and performance must be exceptional. So must its content.
Britehouse Digital (then, 3fifteen) had been working for four years at various technology levels, including the website, with an international leisure group whose market position is one of providing 'remarkable experiences'.
During this time, the website was run on SharePoint 2007 as the central repository for all self-managed content on the website.
As digital technologies started to become more pervasively used by the leisure group's International's target market, the website's functionality needed to be updated to bring it into line with user expectations. This need coincided with the group refreshing its brand. Changes to the website therefore needed not only to reflect the new brand but also be ready by the time the rebrand was launched.
The client wanted the website to meet specific marketing objectives.
These included helping to create awareness of the group's offerings through unified brand alignment that would reinforce the group's premier positioning. The website was also required to sell experiences and convert leads into sales through enhanced touch point relevance and a strong call to action.
In addition, the website needed to drive advocacy by enabling users to share their experiences across social media. And it needed to underpin business intelligence by providing data visibility at a level that can shape business insight.
In achieving these outcomes, the data source that Britehouse Digital and its client had perfected over the previous four years would be retained. The entire front end, however, would have to be rebuilt from the ground up.
This meant recreating master pages, web parts, and page layouts.
Until the website refresh, the leisure group had used external companies to design the site's user interface. Britehouse Digital had been viewed primarily as a technology partner.
However, before an external organisation could be appointed to reskin the website, Britehouse Digital put to use its extensive insight into the workings of the original website – and of the client's business. The team set about identifying those areas of the original website that were most frequently visited and also the browsers that were most used by visitors to the site. They did their own analsyis of what content visitors to the site were looking for and also aligned their research with website best practice.
This gave Britehouse Digital information on which to base the creation of the shell of the website and fueled the creative process of how best to represent all of the leisure group offers.
Armed with these fact-based rather than purely conceptual ideas, Britehouse presented a way forward to the client's marketing department and was put in charge of the user interface.
Among the recommendations Britehouse Digital made was the differentiation of the group's individual leisure properties. The original website had given equal attention and weight to all the properties, regardless of their size or contribution to operations.
On the new website, the page for each property would highlight its particular assets and attractions in detail, acting as a showcase for that property.
However, Britehouse Digital was careful to retain a single source of data in the background and to keep navigation capabilities and branding, particularly corporate identity elements, consistent across the site. This had the effect of attracting more targeted traffic to each property.
Taking this new approach called for a continuous flow of decisions and approvals for each innovation from the client to the Britehouse Digital development team. Also, deadlines were tight. So, a war room environment was created in which both teams sat together and Q&A sessions could be held at a moment's notice without overhead or impact on delivery.
Each page design was reassessed until everyone was satisfied and then implemented using the best standards in HTML 5 and CSS 3 degrading gracefully on older browsers. Key areas were animated to bring the website to life. Redevelopment of original components that needed to be retained took place in parallel, ensuring that they were aligned to the new design. The webparts were made robust by exploiting the full capabilities of the .NET framework and SharePoint API.
Performance improvements were also incorporated to enable certain caching mechanisms along with the combination, minimising, and compression of commonly used resource files and the reduction on the requesting browser of image weight.
The client now has a world class website that is also deemed to be one of the best websites developed on SharePoint. User adoption has been higher and more immersive and audience reach has been significantly extended.
The client has the confidence of knowing that relevant content is being promoted to the most ideal audiences at the most appropriate times and that, thereby, the image not only of the whole group but of individual properties is being continuously enhanced.