We partnered with Belmond to devise a global brand transformation across a varied portfolio of the world's most thrilling adventures, destinations and experiences.
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
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 across its physical offerings. The new digital strategy needed to find balance — our platform had to be capable of communicating each proposition with individuality, while allowing the brand to maintain a clear identity (and scale quickly without undue overhead).
Our team created a highly flexible, 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 many of our digital-first ideas have been adopted across the physical customer experience.
How We Made Change Effective
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 nine months.
The business has increased revenue through digital by 24% (a seven digit revenue increase as comparable to the same period the year before).
In 2018 MOF will continue to support the business across content, UX and design, CRM and loyalty, business intelligence and mobile.
Belmond won “Best Luxury” website at the Good Web Guide Awards in November 2017.