Inn at Laguna Beach

The Brief: Classic Hotels place the customer at the heart of every strategic decision & that’s a philosophy we share. hotelmarketingWorks helped them to target discerning, premium travellers & deliver a seamless experience that optimised their online presence, both now & into the future.

A Tale of Two Great Hotels…

Responsive Design & Effortless User Experience

Responsive design has in fact been around for years, but now that browsers and devices have got a lot, lot smarter, responsive design just got a whole lot more relevant.

In mid-2013, Classic Hotels & iiWorks kicked off the redesign & responsive website build of two hotels: The Inn at Laguna Beach & LaPlaya Carmel by the Sea. The Classic Team place the customer at the very heart of every strategic decision & that’s a philosophy we share.

The properties had recently undergone multi-million dollar renovations passing on superb “high touch” services to customers.

The client needed us to help them target an evolving, mobile traveller & deliver a self-centric, functionally seamless experience that optimised their online presence, both now & into the future.

The brief laid bare several key yields:

  • Bold, innovative design & UCD methodology
  • Performance priority
  • Increased bookings
  • Improved SEO
  • Responsive 3 screen presence
  • Target/attract desired demographic
  • Increase new & returning visits
  • Increase Meeting RFPs & enquiries
  • Imagery as key feature – 1 touch gallery
  • Highlight the location
  • WCAG AA compliance
  • Content parity
  • Boutique experience
  • Descriptive, concise content
  • Build an opt-in database
  • Future friendly

Our Approach…

Gain a complete understanding of the customer’s latent interaction needs, context of use & organisational requirements.

Upfront research efforts are far too often lost in the angst to launch a website. Ironically, it’s this very effort that produces the crucial insights allowing the strategy, design & development teams to hone, refine & validate the most effective conversion strategies & tactics available within our arsenal. It’s what separates the great from the mediocre.

First, we interviewed staff at all levels & undertook segmented behavioural & industry research, then dove head first into analysing historical data using a blend of Google Analytics, competitor & SWOT analysis. Next we produced mind maps & personas for prototype, use case & navigational testing.

Key Learnings…

The outcome of our research provided us with a wealth of information. We learned that while customers are sensitive to price and promotions, the path to conversion takes into account social recommendations, mobile tools and video/photos. Armed with this & a whole lot more, we produced two wireframe prototypes which underwent a further 11 iterations of exhaustive assessment testing.

Two weeks of pouring a solid foundation enabled us to envision innovative methods that served to support a savvy customer by way of clever usability interaction & test the most technically & economically optimal solution.

“Our process allows us to identify new ways to serve & support customers with interaction & design elements as well as research & test the most optimal technical solutions available.”


A tangible strategy we settled upon was the introduction of a modest parallax element to invoke interest, emotion & ensure the property imagery was always at a point of convergence. A vital decision was the ruthless paring back of the navigation to the very barest of elements – only that which the customer needed & wanted to support their research, decision & purchase processes was permitted.

We presented all this information on the Home Page as a long navigational anchor based scroll with an ever-accessible fixed menu. With the support of the Google Map API, we crafted a Location Tool to highlight local conveniences that were important to customers & we integrated this with Yelp and smartphone GPS directions. We knew customers were influenced by social recommendation so TripAdvisor reviews were awarded a prominent position on every page.


The end result was a threefold solution drawn together by:

  • What is desirable for the customer
  • What is technically optimal
  • What is viable for business

New & returning traffic has nearly tripled with fourfold conversions boosted both by mobile & social, which influences a third of all transactions. Responsive design supports the overall lift in the number of users accessing the websites via mobile & the both sites enjoy a page 1 ranking with the majority of selected keywords. Engagement rates are on the rise & The Inn at Laguna Beach was successfully nominated by both Awwwards and the FWA.

We think it’s safe to say that Classic Hotels has found a ‘sweet spot’ in their new online presence. And we couldn’t be happier for them.

“A vital decision was the ruthless paring back of the navigation to the very barest of elements.”

Our Partners & Web Design Awards

hotelmarketingWorks is proud to Partner with some of the world’s leading Digital Marketing solutions and networks, working together to deliver exceptional results for our Clients around the globe.

  • Google
  • Sempo
  • Wordpress
  • IMA
  • FWA
  • Marin Software

Contact Us

Serving clients located around the globe including USA, UK, Europe, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, our team at hotelmarketingWorks has the experience and expertise you need to dominate the online channel and maximise your hotel revenues.