Branding & Website Build For Luxury Melbourne Spa Accommodation
Balinese Retreat is an exclusive couples resort located in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, 45 minutes east of Melbourne. Couples stay in a secluded, self contained Balinese style villa, which is surrounded by five acres of lush, landscaped gardens and native birdlife. All accommodation packages include luxury spa treatments, hot springs bathing and dining options from the onsite spa resort.
Balinese Retreat had a website that did not accurately reflect the level of exclusivity and luxury offered to guests. This was also supported by visitor feedback, that the website did not do the resort justice, and that the retreat was far more luxurious and beautiful in real life. The brief required that a website be designed and built that showcased the beauty, romance and luxury of an adults only resort for couples. The website was to be easy for visitors to navigate and provide easy-to-access information about the many features and accommodation packages available.
There was a significant gap between the design and branding on the old website and what was required to take it to the level outlined by the brief. The old website did not allow for large images to be displayed to showcase the resort. Content across the site was not organised in a logical way that was easy for visitors to navigate. The website colour palette was predominantly white and failed to capture the romance and seduction of the location. The logo was dated and the font choice was standard and unsophisticated. Together these elements contributed to a website that failed to communicate a mood of high romance and luxury, essential for an exclusive adults only resort.
Balinese Retreat was in serious need of a revised brand strategy to guide the development of the new site. The first thing we did was undertake a brand audit, to identify the brand identity and the types of visitors Balinese Retreat wanted to attract. In consultation with the client, we then completely overhauled the brand colour palette, choosing a dark, sophisticated deep blue, combined with a lighter shade of blue, and gold, to create a luxurious feel.
The branding exercise also included creating a new logo, developed around the imagery of a lotus flower. Two background watermarks; a bird of paradise and a palm frond, were developed for use across the pages to add subtle background texture. The watermarks continued the Balinese theme throughout the pages. A new series of simple, elegant fonts were also chosen for the site, to keep the design contemporary.
After completing the branding exercise, an audit of all the site content was undertaken. The new website would require 10 pages, with multiple pages for accommodation packages, information on indoor and outdoor hot springs bathing, a page for spa treatments and information about restaurant and dining options, as well as a page about the retreat facilities, a blog page, and a contact page.
In consultation with the client, a template design was developed for a number of the key pages, emphasising prominent images and the new dark, romantic colour palette. For ease of display, a boxed design was created for the site, that showcased beautiful imagery alongside key information. To soften the horizontal plane, and echo elements of nature and romance, bold curves were integrated into the design on each page. Pages were designed to provide space for a content-rich introduction. Text would set the scene for visitors and provide valuable SEO content for the page to rank. All pages were designed to be easy to navigate so that visitors could easily find all the information they required. The boxed design was also programmed to be responsive and to resize for a range of different devices and browsers. Each page made it easy for visitors to navigate to other pages, by including visually pleasing calls to action for other services and products.
The brief required that, where possible, most of the content from the old pages of the website should remain and be transferred to the new site. However, with the introduction of new pages to the website, and the redesign of existing pages, some new copy was necessary. Much of the existing copy that was transferred to the new site also required significant editing, as well as additional content to be written. All copy was written in the brand voice for Balinese Retreat, identified as a romantic and seductive voice.
Balinese Retreat was not ranking for important industry keywords that were required to drive traffic to the site. As part of the new website design, a new SEO strategy was developed. This involved analysing competitors and selecting a series of keywords to use on each site page. The new keyword strategy was implemented on all pages where new content was written, and for existing content that was edited.
Blog Content For SEO
The growth of large aggregate sites for accommodation have gradually made it more challenging for smaller accommodation players to gain prominence on Google. This is why building ongoing, high quality content on a website is so important. As an adults only accommodation destination, creating a blog page was an opportunity to begin building high quality content to not only boost SEO ranks, but also provide interesting information for potential visitors (i.e. romantic couples) who could be enticed to the website. A series of blogs were researched and written (using relevant SEO keywords) on topics such as ways to improve a relationship, as well as ideas for anniversaries and ways to celebrate Valentines Day.