aro digital strategy
Oddfellows Chester

Winner Best User Experience & bookings increased by 35%

The recently developed site for our client Oddfellows Chester has won the Digital Vision award for Best Hotel User Experience and Overall Website Experience of the Year

The Award-Winning Oddfellows Chester Website Design

Profile: Stylish city centre boutique hotel. Strong food & beverage offering. Meetings, weddings, events focus.

Size: 18 rooms.

Online Turnover: 76% room revenue generated online.

Services: Website design & AróSuite CMS, business strategy, digital marketing, email marketing.

The Brief

The design team relished the whimsical spirit of Oddfellows Chester Hotel, which is a distinctively stylish boutique hotel housed in a Georgian townhouse in Chester city centre. The brief was to align the cool, idiosyncratic aesthetics of the hotel with the design of the website and increase bookings through this channel. Another concern was to portray the unique atmosphere of the hotel to encourage interest in other aspects of the business, such as their bar & restaurant and wedding & meeting venues.

The Result

  • In the year following the website launch, Oddfellow’s website bookings increased by 35% and their online revenue overall is up over 50%.
  • 38% of rooms bookings on average are completed directly on the website.
  • Aró’s consultancy helped grow the special offer channel on the website by 72% in 2016.
  • Google page speed increased by 30 points through eliminating technical issues caused by out-dated elements of the website and through optimising all the content and images.
  • In the three months following the launch of the site, sessions on mobile increased by 26%, resulting in an 80% increase in revenue from mobile compared to the previous period of the same length.

The Approach

The Oddfellows team have a very clear sense of their brand and their products, which is particularly apparent when they commissioned the images of the hotel. Their strong imagery is what drives a lot of the appeal of the website; Large header images that focus on the beautiful, vibrant design details of the hotel have an immediate visual impact. Users’ time is valuable, so the content is pared back to the information they are looking for, accompanied with large call to action buttons for bookings and enquiries. Hovering over images displays short messaging compliant with the hotel’s branding colours and icons also draw the eye to key elements such as table reservations, specials and gift vouchers.

Conversion is always a significant concern and it was important that the key calls to action were ever-present, while not sacrificing the unique style of the website. Placing the booking panel in the right of the header image with arrival and departure dates in large font were integral to the intuitive design. In tests we conducted on other websites, having the dates preselected on the booking widget resulted in 27% more reservations being completed. The panel is on all pages of the website so that the user doesn’t have to navigate to another page when they’ve decided to book. We matched this with a ‘Quick Book’ option that appears at the bottom of the page as the user scrolls. On mobile, the navigation moves to the bottom with clear icons, making it easier for mobile users to click with their thumb. The booking engine is also responsive and images of the rooms easily differentiate the options available at the booking stage.

Read more: Engaging New Designs for Hotels