Hotel Case Study: The Importance of Copywriting + Design

Adagio’s “Aparthotel” (the name is the first problem I have with the story the brand is telling, but more on that later) is basically a corporate apartment solution from major hotelier, Accor Hotels, out of Paris, France.

There will be three things I will review in this case study:

  1. The Written Story: Grammar + Copywriting
  2. The Visual Story: Design + Simplification

The Written Story

First, Adagio’s Aparthotel website makes a classic error: improper use of the English language. Now, I’d give them big ole’ pass since this is a French company operating all over the world, except for the fact that one of their main selling points is “An English-speaking reception team who is there for you”.

Below is my rewrite of this blurb from a grammar and copywriting perspective:


The longer you stay, the less you pay!

  • For longer stays we reduce our prices by 15% to 45%, meaning the currency of your choice always goes further with us.
  • There are never any hidden charges. Water, electricity, and even internet access are all included in our flat rate.
  • A tasty meal at home can be far less expensive than eating out, and sometimes you just crave home-cooking!

At Adagio Aparthotel we always pair guaranteed comfort with great value.


Copywriting

Good copywriting is simply good storytelling condensed into the minimal space required to get to the desired result.

I would venture a guess that the majority of Adagio’s Aparthotel business comes from, well, business travelers — those whose expenses are paid for by their companies. If my powers of deduction make you think, “Wow, Maren may be the next Sherlock Holmes”, don’t be fooled — I just noticed that the second tab on the menu bar was:

Thus, they clearly want this page to sell people, and companies, on using them when they need to be in a city for longer than a short stint.

Focus is a critical element of copywriting, but most business people hate the idea of ever “turning away a customer” by being too narrowly focused. This is a fallacy. Businesses will get much further by telling their story directly to one demographic than trying to be all things to all people.

Here are my rewrites of the Aparthotel’s copy targeted exclusively on the travelling business person, or the finance manager of the company they work for, in mind:

Another tell is that “With the family” has no click here, thus no unique page to learn more about, showing that it’s more of a catch all than an actual buyer persona. A better way to not isolate traveling families while still focusing on the business traveler would be like so:


For business travelers

Traveling solo

We specialize in taking care of our business travelers, whether you’re with us for weeks or months. Our apartments are designed to enable you to focus on doing your best work, while we take care of the rest.

Traveling with family

Business travel can often get lonely, and sometimes it’s nice to bring a partner (or the whole family!) along. We offer two-room apartments with a bedroom for the adults and baby kits for the little ones; you can even bring your pet along!


The Visual Story: Design + Simplification

Make it easy, and make it modern. The header section, and its copy, is one of the most powerful parts of any webpage. White text over a light background is hard to read. Bolded text should only ever be used sparingly, and never in a header:

Keeping up with modern design and up-to-date typeface (Did you just think, “Wait, you mean ‘font’?” If so read this article.) is simple thanks to the proliferation of blogs and tools available today.

Squarespace is one of my all-time favorites because they make it simple for a non-coder to develop a beautiful webpage in hours, not weeks. It also has the added benefit of being easily teachable to the marketing intern at your company, so changes can be made in house as needed, as opposed to having to hire them out.

Wordpress is also a simple solution that runs some of the world’s largest brands including TED and the WSJ; you can see more on them here: https://wordpress.org/showcase/.

Simplification

Another side of design is simplicity. Many older sites seem to operate from a ‘more is more’ perogative. In reality, the less information you can give is best, as long as you’re still telling the proper story that enables your target customer to make a choice.

The truth is that most people prefer things that are clear and well-ordered. When we are presented with complexity, we assume that it will take us a certain amount of time to get to the bottom of it. And this time is something that online users are unwilling to give.
The web designer’s task is a challenging one: to take a multitude of information and to present this to the target audience in the simplest way possible, encouraging them to take an action in response. — source with several real life examples

If it were up to me, I’d have my team redesign the whole segment from the ground up (hint hint Aparthotels Adagio! You can reach me here) but for brevity’s sake I will outline a segment instead.

The redesign:

You’ll notice four points were condensed to three and, most importantly, a call to action is front and center.

Additional branding notes

I’m not crazy about the naming of “Aparthotel”. I’m sure Adagio has already put a lot into this branding, so it may be too late to rebrand, but Apart_____ has too strong a connotation in the common English-speaking lexicon in my mind. E.G. Apartheid, or the feeling of being “apart” versus part of the crowd. I would have advised on choosing a name that flows with the overall story of the offering, something like:

Final thoughts

The hospitality world isn’t keeping up with the fast-paced, consumer-centric changes going on in the rest of the global economy. From Amazon to UberEats, your guests are being retrained on a daily basis of what to expect from a brand.

Travel brands still aspire to meet high expectations set by non-travel brands. With the exception of frequent business travelers, most consumers do not travel very often — maybe two or three times a year. Consequently, their exposure to travel brands is relatively limited. Everyday brands such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Seamless, however, showcase their innovation and services to their customers often — sometimes daily. Many of these brands are leading on the customer experience front and setting the bar high for consumers’ brand expectations….
… Travel and hospitality brands will find themselves subject to the same expectations. Those able to capitalize on these changing expectations with speed and agility are more likely to capture their share of the billions of dollars in 2017 global travel growth. — source: Deloitte Hospitality Analysis 2017

Global business travel spending was at $1.2 trillion in 2015, and shows no sign of slowing in 2017 and beyond. Millennials have also surpassed other generations as the most frequent business travelers worldwide. This change in demographic and increase in business travel means hospitality brands must meet expanding expectations to keep an edge including: authenticity to your brand promise, personalized experiences, frictionless interactions online and in-person as well as on-demand services.

Interested in Inde + Co reviewing your hospitality website or physical location? Drop us a line here: https://inde.co/contact-us/

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