From the moment its doors opened on May 24th, 1906, The Ritz hotel in London has been synonymous with opulence, splendour and the very best in luxury hospitality.
The brainchild of César Ritz is world renowned and has played host to royalty, political figureheads, Hollywood stars and iconic names over the years. Churchill, Chaplin, Eisenhower… even Her Majesty The Queen had her 80th Birthday party at the hotel in 2006.
80 DAYS have been working with The Ritz London since 2014. We assist them with a wide range of digital marketing services including SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising), CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation), brand guidance, design work, copywriting and training. In June 2016, after much discussion around the limitations of their current website and CMS (Content Management System), we proactively pulled together a detailed benchmarking report, along with an analysis of the current site’s performance. It soon became clear that although the site enjoyed very healthy traffic, there were many opportunities to improve performance.
With such a rich hospitality heritage, 110 years in the making, The Ritz London brand and reputation are understandably always front of mind for their marketing team. We are delighted that they put their trust in 80 DAYS to help define The Ritz Experience with a new website.
FALLING SHORT OF BRILLIANCE
Being at the forefront of luxury hotels in London means that The Ritz website enjoys an exceptionally high volume of traffic. In fact, when we benchmarked it’s performance for our June 2016 report, their annual traffic was over double the industry average, such is the reputation of one of the most iconic names in hospitality.
However, the conversion rate of their old website was lower than average – it wasn’t quite capitalising on the wealth of visitors they were receiving daily.
There were also fundamental issues with the site not being consistently represented across desktop, tablet and mobile. Longstanding limitations with their CMS meant that mobile content required careful consideration, doubling the amount of time it took to create cross-platform content for the site. Consequently, tablet and mobile’s contribution to overall revenue was significantly less than industry averages – something the team was well aware of and keen to improve upon.
Finally, a significant usability challenge was unearthed when we assessed Google Analytics and heat map reporting. Potential guests were struggling to find the accommodation section and/or getting confused by having rooms and suites grouped together. Quite surprisingly, the accommodation section of the website didn’t drive a significant volume of bookings.
In short, the old website felt busy, a little off brand and slightly confusing to potential guests. For a brand so familiar with brilliance, it wasn’t showcasing the exceptional level of service offering that is so obvious when you stay at The Ritz London.
A NEW WEBSITE DESIGN THAT DELIVERS
The new website design we created for The Ritz London is a marriage of minimalism and considered design; the typography, copy and imagery perfectly aligned to reflect their brand. This helps deliver individual experiences from the first moment a potential guest visits the site – it could only be The Ritz London.
The imagery of the hotel is naturally spectacular, so we focused on ensuring the copy met the expectations of visitors to the site, working closely with the team to develop a new tone of voice. Our Head of Creative Content, Claire Gardner, had the envious task of staying overnight in one of their luxurious rooms so as to immerse herself in The Ritz Experience:
“It was really important that the copy brought out the character of The Ritz London. It needed to have the quality, character and turn of phrase befitting one of the world’s best known hotels”
Built by The Ritz London’s longstanding developer, using a functional specification provided by 80 DAYS, the new site overcomes the limitations of the current setup and works seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile, providing a consistent brand experience, regardless of device.
Of course, we can’t share too much due to client confidentiality, but the early results are strong;
- Traffic and revenue – Traffic continues to rise steadily and, quite simply, the start of 2017 has seen the highest revenue in the entire history of The Ritz London, up 54% on last year.
- Transactions, average transaction value and conversion – All three have increased considerably, largely the result of a rise in suite bookings and the impact of responsive design.
- Channel shift – The revenue split between desktop, tablet and mobile is much more representative of industry averages – mobile now plays an significant role in revenue production. So far in 2017, mobile revenue is up a spectacular 1,584%
- Better engagement – The time on site has increased, while the amount of pages viewed within a single visit remains close to what they were before. Coupled with bounce rate decreasing by 26% overall, the site is now capturing the attention of visitors. A revised site structure based upon experiences has helped here.
- Key content visibility – Page views of the offers pages within the site have increased by 76%, representing 5% of the entire website’s page views. The accommodation section is now better structured with content now split into rooms, suites and signature suites. Consequently, the traffic that suites now receive is 3X that of the previous site!
- Organic performance gains – Organic traffic to the site continues to show steady growth and the focus on creating new content for The Ritz’s top performing keywords has resulted in organic revenue increasing 60% in the first three months of 2017.
- Paid search gains – The newly created landing pages are far more attractive with clear messaging and calls to action. This has resulted in growth of paid traffic conversion, transactions and revenue, with the latter up 19% despite spend decreasing 8% on the previous year.
NOT JUST A LONDON HOTEL
Throughout the design process, we were very conscious that the new website should be a balance of best practice design, conversion and SEO techniques, while remaining quintessentially true to the essence of The Ritz London’s brand.
As is so eloquently put it on their website, “we are not just a London hotel – we are The Ritz.”
As Managing Director of 80 DAYS Creative, David Gardner, summarises;
“For us, project success revolved around the perception of the brand, alongside overall website performance improvement. Ultimately, if you were to imagine what does The Ritz website look like… does it meet, and exceed, that expectation?”
We’re confident that the answer to that question is now a resounding ‘yes’ and are delighted that Joi Izilein, Head of Marketing at The Ritz London, agrees;
“We’re delighted with the new website. Often the first interaction our guests have with The Ritz London is through our website, so it’s vital that it reflects our brand perfectly. Through the website, their stay and everything in between; The Ritz Experience is now complete.”
Inspired by The Ritz London and the story behind their new website? We’d love to discuss how we might support the redesign of your website.