ANCHOVY. was approached by InterContinental Malta to increase their direct bookings online. Our solution was to create unique landing pages, together with a booking system for us to have more control over user flow and user experience, so that we can provide a more informed service, catered specifically to our audience. Here’s how we went about significantly increasing their revenue from digital marketing efforts to €100k+ in 11 months:
We started by following the extensive brand guidelines provided by InterContinental’s global mother brand. Owing to the large, international reputation of the brand, we were charged to stay very strictly within brand guidelines, whilst also giving the overall look and feel to the entire campaign, as well as the website, its own touches of Maltese character – similar to the interior decorations within each InterContinental hotel – a similar, yet distinct approach. We extracted key ingredients from the brand guidelines and then re-worked them for our purposes, refining as we went along, to achieve usable assets which we could use across board. InterContinental is a brand devoted entirely to sophistication, so we wanted to create depth with subtlety and simplicity, evident in the colour scheme and small detailing. We also expanded upon their list of icons, creating a unique set of around 50 icons which were used extensively throughout the project.
With the stellar photography of the hotel at our disposal, we selected our picks for the website to be at the forefront – we really wanted users to feel as though they were at the hotel when visiting the site. We also wanted to create a serene vibe, where colour, type and space would come together to create a comforting and pleasing environment for the users to explore.
Once the new InterContinental Malta website was launched, and all coding was set in place to track conversions, we were ready to launch our conversion campaign.
The website was built according to Google’s latest recommendations, and also in line with InterContinental’s brand guidelines. This would help us achieve a much better user journey later on in the campaign. One of our most proud metrics is that despite the website being very big and having a lot of images, we still managed to keep the site speed low:
In order to truly showcase all facets of the ultra-luxurious suites and rooms available, the client wanted to show as much information about the room sizes, amenities and specifications. To position the Highline Suites at the forefont of luxury and technology, we felt it was essential that digital matched reality – which is why we opted for an interactive approach, where by users were presented with a digital plan of the room, where they could explore and click around to view various details. This saved space and resulted in a much cleaner look, as well as bringing the site to life.
We also took a good look at the booking system. The whole scope of the project was for users to find it easy and accessible to book directly through the site, so we wanted this process to be as streamlined as possible.
From the get-go, we mapped out the user flow to give the best experience, and ensure information and calls to action were well balanced and in the right places.
The tone of voice was also considered throughout the user identification process, which also determined different landing pages for different types of users
We wanted to consider all aspects of the user’s journey, and tried to guide them through the right avenues, by placing signifiers and indicators in the right places. We created thoughtful pop-ups without being too intrusive, placed calls to action to drive bookings thoughtfully, so that they could be found easily without interfering with the overall user experience.
This was true to the text also, owing to the sheer amount of information that had to be communicated, we had to scratch our heads and identify huge amounts of data, dissecting large extracts of text provided by the client, and placing the information in a way that made sense to the overall design of the website. The trick was to give the user enough information per step to guide them through the booking process, without providing so much information that they felt overwhelmed and were put off.
We also considered where the users where coming from, and tried to anticipate what it is they expected to see, and where they wanted to go.
You can view the finished site here
Right Place Right Time
Once the website was fully functional, we then had to make the target audience aware and lead them towards it. We did this through organic and paid advertising, incentives and building an engaging online presence. We constantly refined who the target market represented, as well as where they can be found and how they can be engaged with.
The most essential element to making this campaign a success was building trust with our audience – this was done through a well strategized, purely organic social media marketing strategy based on a communications plan aligned with the client’s marketing goals. Regular photoshoots were scheduled, events were organised and the right exposure was given across various social media platforms – including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All communication was designed to create valuable and engaging content, which would eventually lead the user to the website.
We produced one of the most successful websites for all locations in InterContinental’s global umbrella brand, as well as having created a social presence for customers to engage and share content.
We started off with launching our campaign in the UK, based on the fact that the majority of tourists in Malta come from the UK. In terms of language barriers, or the lack of them, this was the natural go-to option for us in terms of a launch, as we wanted to test the market and see how the reaction and results would have been. The goals for these campaigns have always been the following:
- Capturing the people who are actively searching for accommodation in Malta and directing them to our website.
- Converting the people who land on our website and get them to the booking engine.
- Increasing the value of direct room bookings at the hotel.
In November, our first month of running the campaign, we achieved around 700 conversions in total. By June, we had already achieved almost 3000 conversions per month, with combined efforts coming via Social Media, SEO and SEM.
In terms of Facebook and Instagram Audiences, our inhouse team of organic experts have been working extensively hard to attract new fans to the various pages managed under the InterContinental Malta campaign, whilst simultaneously keeping the current fanbase entertained through a series of news and information, as well as fun facts about the Maltese islands – setting the right tone of voice needed by an expert in the tourism industry.
The most recent update to the campaign has been expanding into the Italian network following the translation and SEO optimisation for the Italian version of the website. We have noticed better ROI in terms of cost per click when compared to advertising in the UK and the Italians are booking at the hotel at half the cost when compared to English counterparts which is very interesting to see.
The next part of this campaign is to maintain our current momentum in the UK and Italian market whilst starting to expand into other foreign markets.