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Website Conversion Design Case Study: Royal Cliff Hotels Group

Websites shouldn't just look good. They should also be your first -- and main -- sales tool online.  So the look, feel and design should actually work to also improve the goal of each website. And for most companies, the main goal is to drive direct leads and sales through their website, because it's much more cost effective than receiving bookings through third-party sales channels where you have to pay a hefty commission or fee. 

In this website conversion design case study, we're going to show you how we worked with Royal Cliff Hotels Group to increase online books and generate new revenue.

The Client: Royal Cliff Hotels Group from Thailand


The Royal Cliff Hotels Group is home to four luxury, 5-star hotels, 11 restaurants and the largest convention center (outside of Bangkok) located on a 64 acre private estate overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The resort is a popular destination for people from all over the world, including famous celebrities, athletes, and political leaders like the Prime Minister of Singapore who had "A very pleasant stay!" (You can read more of their glowing testimonials by clicking here.)

Royal Cliff's Executive Director, Vitanart Vathanakul, has been a newsletter subscriber since October 2012, and recently contacted me to conduct a website audit. Their website is an incredibly powerful marketing and sales tool for bringing in loyal customers. According to their statistics, 70% of new online guests returned again this year!

"We were looking for a professional internet marketer to audit the hotel website. We knew that we needed someone outside the hotel industry to give us thorough feedback of our website. By working with Brad, we were able to discover new creative ideas, design and uncover the errors that we overlooked."
"Before we began working with Brad we contacted other companies. The reason we chose him is because of how responsive he was to our request. He was very flexible on the payment options. He made the whole process very easy and delivered everything on schedule. He was also constantly communicating with us. And what impresses us the most is after the project has finished, he still checks up on us."


The website audit consisted of four primary areas:

  1. Design, Branding & Usability
  2. Content & Copywriting
  3. Search Engine Optimization
  4. Conversion Optimization
However for the purposes of this case study, we're just going to take a look at how some simple design and usability elements can -- and do -- affect conversions.

The Process

When you start analyzing a website, you want to start thinking about how users flow through it to purchase. In this case, that means entering a “conversion funnel” and begin using the room reservation software.  Once people land on your website, then you need to get them respond to your triggers -- primarily Calls-To-Action (CTAs) -- to get them to show intent and take the desired action you want.

And you should use other little elements like visual cues (e.g. the sizing, placement, and color of buttons), and copywriting to help aid or increase the number of people who enter your "conversion funnel". Let's take a look at two examples. One from the old homepage, and one of the main suites page:

First and foremost, the website’s first impression is really good. The overall layout is clear and simple, images look beautiful, and the color scheme works very well together. The design is a nice mix of modern/contemporary and still understated/sophisticated. All of the images are really well done, and together with the font selection looks great for the modern design and visual aesthetics.  

The header and footer sections also look well done. The time zone, weather information, map and telephone number is perfect for overseas travelers. The footer site links are simple and minimized (good). Social buttons are available, but not overwhelming and taking away from your main goals (reservations and newsletters sign-ups). And the address is on the footer of every page, which is great for users and search engines.  There are no glaring issues that need to be overhauled. The the overall design, layout, color scheme and font selection all look great.  But let's dig into the details to see how we might make a few tweaks to improve conversions.

The Solution

Let's take a look at the new homepage and some of the recommended changes that they incorporated:

Fix #1: Add Secondary CTA

 The first thing that jumps out is the only place to make a reservation or new booking on the homepage is a small, “Make a Reservation” button on the image slider and menu links. We recommended using several Calls-To-Action (CTA) on all webpages to complete your goal (in this case, a reservation). For example, you can also add CTA’s on the sidebar and in the body copy on the homepage.

Fix #2: Switch Language Preference for Primary CTA

 Using a double navigation (top and main menu) is fine, but try to reduce redundancies where appropriate. I would recommend removing or re-locating the “Language” selection in the top “sticky” menu bar.  Users probably wouldn't need to switch that often, so it can probably be located somewhere else in the header or footer. That is a valuable location, so it’s better to highlight one of your conversion goals in that area.

Fix #3: Change Color & Prominence of Slider CTA

 You should always use design to prioritize and emphasize your CTAs. Typically you can do that by using different colors, size or placement. Otherwise these different elements compete for attention when you’re scanning and are easily overlooked. For example, you can easily increase the size or color of the “Make a Reservation” button on the main slider to make it easier to see (it currently blends in with some of the background images). You can also use different colors in the top navigation menu for “Reservations” to call more attention to it.

Fix #4: Add Copywriting to Improve Description

 The website could use also some copywriting help to translate those facts and descriptions into interesting, unique content and provide a stronger motivation to make a reservation. Copywriting also has a significant impact on conversions because it translates inward facing content (like features and stats) into visitor benefits, outcomes and results that they can immediately understand and emotionally buy-in. 

Your value propositions should be promises of the benefit, outcome or result each guest will experience. You can have a main one for hotel, but also smaller ones to describe all of the different accommodations, features and amenities you provide. In the homepage example, the text used in the image slider on the homepage tells what it is (e.g. “Exotic Luxury Hotel”), but not why it’s important (e.g. “Picturesque, 180 degree views”). Again, there aren't many changes to be made in the new suites page either. But there are a few little elements that could help.

Fix #1: Add Prominent CTA

 The primary calls-to-action are not very obvious, and hard to see quickly. (And you also have the secondary CTA phone number)

Fix #2: Use Visual Cues for CTA

 Typically conversions will go down if you make your users think or work too hard. In this case, the page's “Book Now” button on competes with the newsletter “Submit” button because they’re too similar.

Fix #3: Add White Space to Prioritize

Finally, notice what you see right below the page's call-to-action. Nothing! By adding white space below, you're calling user's attention and eye-line back to the main action you want them to take -- booking a room in this case. 

The Results

After analyzing Royal Cliff's website to improve direct reservations and sales, Executive Director Vitanart Vathanakul has reported:
"Our online revenue has increased significantly. In addition the number of website visitors have increased and they now spend more time on our website. Numerous customers have complimented us on our website design and navigation system."
Once we adjusted the design and content to your recommendation this has attracted more people to book with us directly. Also SEO optimization has driven new visitors to our website and made them aware of our product. We were able to target the right customers."
What was your experience working with us?
"You were very efficient and very easy to get in contact. I appreciate that you delivered on more than was requested. Finally I admire your patience on explaining each concept. This is quite a technical field and so some areas are difficult to understand at first."
"I have already recommended you to my friends. This is because I know that not only will they enjoy working with you but you will be able to help them significantly."

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