March 21, 2013

Leading Hotels launches new digital strategy with a website redesign


Seen as just the beginning of the implementation of a totally new digital strategy, the site is an aggregation and distribution point for the company’s hotel inventory, and offers rich educational and inspirational content.

The Leading Hotels of the World continues to celebrate its 85th anniversary year with the launch of its newly redesigned website, LHW.com. The site has an entirely different look and feel, enhanced functionalities, and richer, more in-depth content.

Completely rebuilt from the ground up, it operates on a state-of-the-art hardware platform and employs the latest techniques in web programming trends. Seen as just the beginning of the implementation of a totally new digital strategy, the site is an aggregation and distribution point for the company’s hotel inventory, and offers rich educational and inspirational content. The progressive, fluid design, inspired by print techniques, was created with the iPad and other tablets in mind.

Phil Koserowski, Vice President of Interactive Marketing explained, “The web site is really the first step in the evolution of our digital strategy which will reach consumers across multiple touch points and multiple devices including web, social, online media, eCRM and other emerging channels. With this new platform in place we will continue to add some very exciting content and functionality throughout the year including a smart phone/mobile extension of the site, a robust community for our Leaders Club members, and additional content for our consumers.” Mr. Koserowski concluded, “We needed to design a site that appealed to a more savvy global audience who were looking for a simple booking experience while also having an abundance of new rich content to complement the research process.”

Not simply a facelift, the redesign is the result of an intensive global research and development project that relied heavily on user evaluation and input, including call center interviews, a survey on the existing LHW.com and usability testing of one of the early prototypes. Members of Leaders Club – the company’s high-value customer loyalty program – as well as a broad sampling of other affluent travelers in six countries were engaged to express what they were looking for in an improved website.

Claudia Kozma Kaplan, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, noted , “A primary challenge was how to craft content that accurately captures the unique qualities of our more than 430 distinctive, independent hotels, and to present that content in such a way that viewers would have a consistently enjoyable, engaging on-line experience.”

She continued by saying, “We are particularly proud that we have accomplished that goal, at the same time, providing our customers with an enhanced search and booking tool that simplifies the process in terms of functionality, while offering highly curated and relevant insider information.”

One of the great strengths of the Leading brand is the great diversity among its membership. Capitalizing on that strength, the company has enriched the site’s content by incorporating details submitted by the hotels themselves, including tips to the very best their destinations have to offer from a local point of view.

Among the results is an entire section entitled Get Inspired – with suggestions for Magnificent Journeys –skillfully devised travel itineraries highlighting “must do experiences” in various regions throughout the world; Luxury Hotel Guides, offering fresh perspectives on our hotels; Leading Spa and Leading Golf – to appeal directly to those audiences with special offers and extra amenities and services.

Adapting best practices from on-line retail sites, the new LHW.com incorporates a shopping cart feature, rather than just the standard reservation function, to enable the user to make multiple purchases, and even to add a Leaders Club membership to the buying process.

Related Link: The Leading Hotels of the World