The Drum Recommends: Commended - Global digital transformation for Belmond

Matter of Form: Global Digital Transformation

This week The Drum Recommends: Commended is highlighting Matter of Form's Global Digital Tranformation for Belmond.

In this series, we explore the finest work created by The Drum Recommended agencies. We will highlight top case studies each week to guide and inspire you in your journey to select a new agency relationship.

Earlier this year the Recommended Agency Register (RAR) was rebranded as The Drum Recommends to bring it in line with owner The Drum. It remains committed to partnering brands with the correct agency using data and unique industry expertise.

This case study and other interesting content can be found on Matter of Form’s profile on The Drum Recommends.

Challenge (Context)

Founded in 1976 and originally known as the Orient Express, the Belmond brand as it is today came into being with the purchase of the iconic Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

This was the first in a series of acquisitions that have grown the portfolio to over 60 hotels, cruises, train journeys and dining experiences.

Belmond partnered with Matter Of Form to develop a cohesive digital experience to reflect a new brand and business strategy. Previously, the web eco-system had been bolted together — but with a diverse portfolio that includes journeys, destinations and experiences the site had become complicated and confusing.

With ambitious goals to double EBITDA by 2020 through an aggressive acquisition strategy, the business needed to ensure the brand was recognised, and that digital operations and on-boarding were robust.

Opportunities for Interaction (Solution)

Belmond is a joyful brand, with a loyal and devoted team who cherish its properties and people. Within the business were buried a huge number of assets, stories, and insights — our first job was to audit and organise the material that already existed, and identify what we’d need to create or commission.

The new brand is confident in its eccentric charm and celebrates the quirky design details inherent in its physical offerings. The new digital strategy needed to find balance — our platform had to be capable of communicating each proposition with individuality, whilst allowing the brand to maintain a clear identity (and scale quickly without undue overhead).

Our team created a highly flexible and modular design system — allowing our beautifully crafted and intricate patterns, maps and illustrations to sit comfortably within a global design framework.

The UX team recruited and interviewed stakeholders and potential guests, ran focus groups and tested design permutations against our key success metrics. For Belmond, exposing more products and creating engagement across the breadth of the portfolio was a more important factor than simply selling more in the short term.

Our final output included illustrations, content, a rich editorial platform and a set of complex booking flows; in addition, may of our digital-first ideas have been adopted across the physical customer experience.

How we Made Change Effective (Results)

As part of our first phase, we reorganised the businesses product portfolio, launched over 60 websites and devised and produced an end to end editorial strategy in just over 9 months.

The business has increased revenue through digital by 24% (a seven-digit revenue increase as compared to the same period the year before).

Conversion has increased across 4 product classes by 31% — check.

In 2018 MOF will continue to support the business across content, UX and design, CRM and loyalty, business intelligence and mobile.

To find out more about Matter of Form check out their profile on The Drum Recommends.

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