Hong Kong based luxury hotelier Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group unveiled today its brand new website, a beautiful surprise, given its wealth of improvements, both from a design / layout point of view and from a technical point of view. The overall feel is luxurious, but at the same time, elegant, subtle and in many ways, understated.
The layout and navigation are kept simple and very easy to use, some descriptitive text having been shortened from the previous version and made more concise. It is much easier to navigate the page of each hotel and much easier to find practical, concrete information. Those seeking detailed information on each destination can access the dedicated online magazine (separate from the main website), called Destination MO (there are easy to spot links on many sections of the website). Instead of listing e-mail addresses (old version), there are now easy-to-fill-in forms to contact various departments, especially the Concierge of each hotel.
Another major improvement from the previous website, are the photos. The new website is like a beautiful mirror of each hotel, with many new photos, most taken in day-light perfectly capturing furnishing details (interior design, technology, amenities etc) but also highlighting the views from the rooms, for instance. Over 80% of the photos on the website are new and hopefully, the old ones will be replaced soon. Many of the new photos feature ”real” people (probably still models) that actually look like hotel guests, rather than the Asian female models that used to be widely featured. From the new set of photos, I was particularly drawn by those picturing families in various activities – these are the exact type of pictures which make potential guests dream but also add a warmer, welcoming touch for Mandarin Oriental, bringing it closer to its guests and admirers.
In line with the same philosophy of showing more openness, the corporate section of the website has also been significantly improved, especially from the point of view of adding new senior staff, each staff with a photo and a career brief descriptions. The newly added profiles are: Group Director of Human Resources, Group Director of SPA, Chief Information Officer, Group Director of Technical Services and Group Director of Food & Beverage. Introducing more members of the team not only serves the purpose of transparency but most importantly, it shows the company’s strategic approach for the most vital divisions for a successful luxury hotelier nowadays: human resources, technology, quality of food & beverage and SPAs. By adding the ”Group” name to the title, the company is also seeking to instill consistency and coherence at a group level. The level of experience and expertize of each senior member of the team is also re-assuring in terms of quality of staff.
Recognizing the importance of children and families, Mandarin Oriental has now placed a permanent section on the page of each hotel entitled Younger Fans. A set of beautiful photos picturing hotel staff interacting with children is placed throughout the entire website. The new section dedicated to younger fans reflects Mandarin Oriental’s new program – wide range of amenities for children of all ages, baby sitting, dedicated food menus for younger guests, kids clubs where children can be entertained.
For those who prefer to save the presentation of each hotel and browse it later (often when not connected to the internet), each Mandarin Oriental hotel now has not only a presentation in English, but some properties like Paris, in Arabic and Russsian, probably among the top consumer targets for the respective hotel. Each presentation is in pdf format, easy to download and save on any type of device, even on a smartphone.
With the new website, Mandarin Oriental’s long term marketing campaign ”Fan of Mandarin Oriental” featuring several worldwide celebrities is eventually utilized at its maximum potential. Instead of the glossy magazine ads which feature only one celebrity (each), the new website brings together all celebrities, instilling a true feeling that those celebrities are not just endorsers but actually patrons of the Mandarin Oriental hotels. The Mandarin Oriental celebrity fans are carefully positioned within the dedicated concierge website Destination MO, with sensible and sometimes subtle connections – for instance, American Kevin Spacey is interviewed for the Destination MO website in London, speaking about his passion – theatre.
Considering the importance of the website as more than just the presentation of the respective product or service, Mandarin Oriental’s new website successfully captures the essence of the brand and its values, aiming for the highest luxury positioning among the major luxury hotel chains, worldwide. The website is, at the same time, a new promiss which Mandarin Oriental makes, raising the bar of expectations even higher.
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