Why our latest private guesthouse website opts for a ‘softer sell’

private guesthouse website

We’ve recently completed a private guesthouse website with a bit of a difference. Usually the sales plan adopted by any kind of hotel or hospitality project involves a ‘hard push’, with a focus on the most optimised marketing to a specific audience. However with the work we’ve done for a rural farm, incorporating newly refurbished accommodation and a wide range of photo shoot locations, the approach has been rather different. For a start, the property is a private home, with ongoing use by a couple, albeit one that travels year-round. Then there’s the overall ethos of the place, which is charming, easygoing and friendly, amid a quiet local community. This called for a more casual, friendly design brief – with plenty of creativity.

 

Adopting a creative approach for a special place

As we began the farm website project, one of the challenges that came up was the best way of describing the scale of the place in a manner that felt bespoke to the project. As luck would have it, Anna Méndez, an intern working with us for a few weeks, is a creative illustrator in her spare time. We looked at all the photos we had of the farm and with a loose brief from the owner, were inspired to work on an illustration-led map. Anna suggested first choosing three photographs of the primary buildings and hand-drawing them as loose architectural sketches. These new drawings were used within our website design on their own, then blended into a map showing the complete footprint of the estate.

The overall effect of these drawings combined with the photography has been to create a site that feels both polished yet with its own sense of charm. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of analogue skills applied to the digital world and this is such a good example of just that. The drawings lend a charm (and dare I say it romance) to the spaces while the map immediately sets the buildings in context spatially. What’s quite fun is the incomplete nature of the project. Several buildings around the farm are being gradually redeveloped and given they aren’t in use, we’ve left them off the map. My idea is that as each structure is reconfigured, we can add more drawings, photos and sections to the website.

Custom illustrations and a map by Spanish artist Anna Méndez added a unique charm to our private guesthouse website

 

Using every aspect of your property to its full advantage

Given its status as a family home, the owners are quite sensitive to the sort of hospitality they will be offering. This certainly isn’t a wedding or party venue, or even a B&B or hotel in the conventional sense. With only sporadic flurries of activity rather than a regular flow being the desired outcome of the project, one aspect of the site is to set the farm as a location for photography or video shoots. A good example might be the growing enthusiasm for engagement photos, with couples keen to commemorate their future plans with images they share online, not merely put in a silver frame.

A section of the website explains how it’s an ideal setting for shoots, whether still or video, and how well suited the location is for ancillary services such as makeup artists or photographers. It’s such a good example of the ways in which a site can showcase the wide range of capabilities of a venue, particularly in ways that are sympathetic to its surroundings. Photo shoots aren’t an immediately obvious use of a farm, but equally mean the place can be rented sporadically, by quiet, one-off visitors – which suits the owners and raises revenue in an interesting way.

Our design for a private guesthouse website

 

Our way of approaching hospitality marketing

Beyond our work on this project, we’ve collaborated extensively with the hospitality industry in recent years. Whether helping hotels with customer facing materials, internal functions such as human resources, or collaborating with consultants who assist in the marketing and business development process.

Here are three short case studies of each;

  1. Rosewood London
    Over the period of a year, we worked with the marketing team at the beautiful Rosewood London. Among several projects, we devised graphic design for the extraordinary custom-made leather menu at Scarfes Bar, the extraordinary cocktail bar at the heart of the hotel. We also worked on daytime menus for the Mirror Room where the hotel hosts a world-class afternoon tea every day.
  2. Bulgari Hotel London
    Every leading hotel requires great staff and the Bulgari is no exception. Working with the hotel’s HR function, we created a standalone site advertising the ongoing range of roles at the hotel. The site captures the essence of the Bulgari: its style, elegance and sensibility. In particular, the site had to capture a formality and tone of voice different from the commercial arm of the hotel.
  3. FBR Hotel Consulting
    Entrepreneur Flavia Brutti-Righetti offers marketing consultation to hotels both in London and her native Italy. We worked closely with Flavia from the early days of her business, devising the company’s branding, website and ongoing marketing materials to promote the company. These have included invitations, stationery and a comprehensive brochure.

 

Our menu design for the Mirror Room at Rosewood London

 

Do you need a private guesthouse website designed for your business?

We have extensive experience working in the world of hospitality over projects large and small, whether it’s a private guesthouse website or a menu for your restaurant. If you have a project of this kind you’d like to discuss, please email direct or call us on 020 7351 4083.

Visit the Vanners Farm website

Our work for Rosewood London

Our work for the Bulgari Hotel London

Our work in luxury hotel identity and print design