HotelsWeLove.com, launched in July, is a great example of an online listing, made exceptional by the quality and consistency of brand voice and design. A personal project run by Laurence Billiet and Rachael Antony, HotelsWeLove.com offers hand picked content from around the world in the form of art, books, hotel reviews and bespoke itineraries. Profiling 10 cities, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Marseilles, Milan, New York, Paris and Shanghai, HotelsWeLove.com is set to remain a quality resource for travellers worldwide, thanks to well considered content, tone of voice and design.
Rather than trying to compete with the limitless amount of travel advice online, HotelsWeLove has broken the idea of travel down into three simple sections and organised our content accordingly. “Since every journey starts in the mind with an idea, a wish, a flash of curiosity, our first content section is titled ‘Think’ and is dedicated to showcasing books, films, music and other random ideas about a city. The Think page always loads a little bit differently – the design reflects a stream of consciousness, and the unusual connections that we make with our minds. This is the only section of the web site that can grow endlessly.” Rachael Antony from hotelsWeLove.
Play is a catalogue of bit-sized itineraries, centring on specific places or events that showcase the city in a new way. They are also convenient because they act as building blocks of your trip. The final section Sleep, is a small list of hotels that come whole heartedly recommended and entertainingly described (the kind of content you’d enjoy reading even if you weren’t in need of travel advice.)
Overall the website design is simple, clean and little unexpected. For instance travel iconography has deliberately been avoided, creating a point of difference and also giving the website a broader appeal. Colour has also been used in an interesting way; it acts as a navigational device throughout the website, a little like visual cues that are used to guide people through public places ( for example airports and hospitals). The typography also reflects a need to organise content, for instance: The format of Think Play Sleep is repeated in the designation headings; for example, Amsterdam.
HotelsWeLove.com is more than a listing; it is an eclectic array of content that has been combined to create a unique brand voice and digital design. This brand voice is not meant to appeal to everyone, which is a good thing, because it’s able to remain measured, consistent and able to resonate with its intended audience. It is the editorial-curatorial role in creating such focused content, and the role of design in finding the best way to communicate this content, that places HotelsWeLove in a position of authority within the travel industry, for it’s chosen target market. Ultimately, the quality of its brand voice and design will result in higher traffic and a more profitable website.