The Ritz London

The Ritz London

Defining The Ritz Experience

From the moment the doors opened on May 24th, 1906, The Ritz hotel in London has been synonymous with high society, elegance and the very best in luxury hospitality. The brainchild of Swiss hotelier César Ritz, the hotel is world renowned having hosted a wealth of royalty, political figureheads, Hollywood stars and iconic names over the years. Churchill, Chaplin, Eisenhower… even Her Majesty The Queen.

In 2016 they launched a new website to better reflect 'The Ritz Experience'.

In Conversation With...

JOI IZILEIN HEAD OF MARKETING, THE RITZ

DAVID GARDNER MANAGING PARTNER, 80 DAYS
Joi Izilein The Ritz
JOI IZILEIN HEAD OF MARKETING, THE RITZ

DAVID GARDNER MANAGING PARTNER, 80 DAYS

The Challenge

80 DAYS have worked with The Ritz London since 2014. We assist them with a wide range of digital marketing services including SEO, PPC, CRO, brand guidance, design work, copywriting and training.

In June 2016, after considerable discussion around the limitations of their current website and Content Management System, we took it upon ourselves to proactively pull together a detailed benchmarking report, along with an analysis of the current site’s performance. It soon became clear that while the site enjoyed very healthy traffic, there were many opportunities to improve performance.

The Ritz London is one of world's most iconic hospitality brands. What are your first thoughts before embarking on a project like this?

Joi: With such a rich hospitality heritage, over 110 years in the making, our brand and reputation are understandably always front of mind whenever we embark on large-scale marketing projects like this. And even though we're a traditional hotel, I'm always trying to ensure that with our online marketing, our website and social media, that we are at the forefront of everything we do in the industry. Ultimately, our website is quite often the first touchpoint for a guest to experience The Ritz, so there's really no margin for error.

David: We were incredibly conscious of the trust and responsibility that Joi and The Ritz team put in 80 DAYS to help deliver their new website. Of course, it was a great honour to work on a project like this.

The Ritz London

Why did The Ritz need a new website?

David: Being at the forefront of luxury hotels in London meant that The Ritz's website was enjoying an exceptionally high volume of traffic. In fact, when we took a look at it’s performance for our report, their annual traffic was over double the industry average! I guess, such is the reputation of one of the most iconic names in hospitality. 

However, what became apparent was that the conversion rate of their old website was lower than average – it wasn’t really capitalising on the wealth of visitors they received.

Also, the old website felt quite busy and perhaps even a little off brand. I think some guests were finding it slightly confusing to use too. 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.

Joi: We had some pretty significant issues with the site when viewed on tablet and mobile. That and some limitations with the CMS meant that any time we wanted to create mobile content it would take us an age to create cross-platform content for the site. Not very efficient to keep it updated, but importantly, the revenue from tablet and mobile was significantly less than the industry average.

We also unearthed a fairly significant usability challenge when we reviewed the Google Analytics and heat map reporting with 80 DAYS. Our guests were struggling to find the accommodation section of the site and getting a little confused by having rooms and suites grouped together. Quite surprisingly, the accommodation section of the website wasn't driving the significant volume of bookings we would expect.

The Ritz London Green Park
The Ritz London Lobby
Bride In Grand Hall The Ritz London
The Ritz London Frontage
Afternoon Tea

How would you describe the evolution of the website, from old to new?

Joi: Night and day! I think the new website design blends minimalism and very considered design elements very well. All aspects, the typography, the copy and the imagery are very well-aligned to reflect our brand and the experience of staying at The Ritz. This really helps the site to deliver the individual experiences that our guests are so familiar with, right from the first moment they interact with it.

David: The imagery of the hotel is naturally spectacular, so a big focus of ours was ensuring the copy met the expectations of visitors to the site too, working closely with the team to develop a new tone of voice. Our Head of Creative Content, Claire [Gardner], had the very envious task of staying overnight in one of their luxurious rooms so as to immerse herself in the famous Ritz Experience. It was really important that the copy brought out the character and quality, befitting of one of the world’s best known hotels.

We have to give credit to their website developer too. We provided a functional specification and all the design work, and they have built a site that more than overcomes the limitations of the old website. It now works seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile.

The Ritz London Website

Can you share how the new website performed?

David: Of course. We can’t share too much due to client confidentiality, but at a top level we've seen traffic, revenue, transactions and conversion rates rise steadily. 2017 saw the highest online revenue in the entire history of The Ritz, up 38% on the year before with average order values increasing by 20%.

We're also delighted to see that the revenue split between desktop, tablet and mobile is much more representative of industry averages. Mobile now plays a significant role in revenue production for the hotel - it's actually up by over 1,500% in 2017 so far!

Joi: I'm really pleased to see the website engagement has improved too. Our guests are spending longer on the site, they're viewing a good amount of content and our bounce rates have decreased by over 25%. The site is really capturing the attention of visitors.

It's also helped improve other areas of our online marketing activity. Our organic traffic continues to rise and organic revenue is up 60% in the first quarter of 2017. That, coupled with gains in our paid advertising activity as well.

And of course, commercially it's doing very well too.

William Kent Banquet

Final thoughts?

David: For us, the success of the project really centred on 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? 

Joi: We’re delighted with the new website. 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.