Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Simpsinns Update from the Edge

Over the past couple of months we've been working closely with owner Malcolm Simpson and Gill Gallagher on bringing the company's online presence up to date.
The project has now passed a few important milestones and some of the results are now starting to come through. The project with Simpsinns is mapped out over a two year period to ensure that we can progressively develop the on-line presence of the group, the individual properties and the profit centres with the properties.

In doing this return on investment for the online spend can be better analysed and tracked.
The first phase of the project is approaching completion with only secondary navigation to be added for the hotels to give a deeper level of information for the guests and site visitor.

At this stage the new websites have been designed to reflect the design work completed by the hotel's own graphic team. At The Edge we've never been precious about working with others; it is essential that positive partnerships are created and collaborations worked upon and when we're provide with the palette of colours and quality of corporate branding as we were from Lynart then it is our job to ensure that the branding remains continuous wherever viewed on-line. Add to this a portfolio of wonderful images to play with we were delighted with what we had to start the project.

The result to date therefore is a brand new website for the brand new product; an updated website for the existing product and a new Blog for the joint product.

After discussion with Malcolm and his team it was readily decided to provide different websites for each business unit; different styles of operation and location we believe merited different contents and designs. However we decided to keep the layouts and navigations similar to ensure that the visitor going to both sites was able to find their way around easily.

Old Loans Inn Website went live a few days after its opening in the middle of July and with the help of an early push with Google Adwords and early submissions to the search engines the site is now performing very well for a start up. The site is driven by our own Claymore Project content management system which means that the team at Simpsinns have full control over their content, images and even metatags and uploads. The image gallery is even automatically updated from their Google Account.

The site also features fully integrated booking engine Bookassist and the group function here means that any enquiries not fulfilled by Old Loans are offered availability at Gailes. Complete with Google map and guest reviews Bookassist is already converting site visits to online sales at a highly competitve cost.
The Gailes Hotel website benefits from all of the similar functionality to Old Loans and since it's relaunch the increase in online bookings has been very impressive. Having switched over from another system the hotel's conversion rate has increased substantially confirming much of what is a given already and that is that in order for an on-line sales strategy to be successful it needs not just a good looking site with relevant content, nor a world class booking engine nor only good levels of optimisation and site traffic. No it requires a balance of all three; without any one the other two are it could be argues almost worthless in bottom line terms.
The final stage of phase one was the launch of the Simpsinns blog which is being used to drive up to date news, information offers and even things such as vacancies and guest images.

We're really happy with the seamless integration of the off line design into the new sites and look forward over the coming two years to extend the ongoing development yet further. The phase running up to Christmas 2009 will include the launch of the company's YouTube, Twitter and Facebook content. We'll keep you up to speeh with how it's all going.

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