Website redesign for Amber Avenue Guesthouse.

Project background

Sue approached me a few months after the launch of a new bed and breakfast she was managing in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. She wanted to improve the online presence of Amber Avenue Guesthouse. The website was not getting much traffic due to its low search engine ranking. It was only appearing on the third, fourth, fifth pages of Google search results for relevant search terms.

When I visited the bed and breakfast for the first time, I was struck by the hard work Sue had put in to redecorating the entire guesthouse and self-catering cottage. Sue has a wonderful style and an incredible eye for interior design. The rooms were beautiful; tastefully-decorated in elegant and calming hues of grey and cream, with pops of colour from the stunning artwork she’d carefully selected. The guesthouse itself is located on a peaceful farm in the Karkloof, surrounded by an established and well-maintained English-style country garden; rolling hills and forest. It felt like a wonderful, calming place to stay.

I felt that the existing website design, which was done before the redecorating, did not do her bed and breakfast justice. It was not attracting her ideal customers and was not leading to an acceptable conversion rate due to the design not reflecting the style of her beautiful establishment. So I set about planning a redesign (and loved every second of it!).

The redesign process
Inspired by Sue’s colour palette at the bed and breakfast, I created a simple mood board to guide the redesign. To get that elegant, refined, calm style that Sue has achieved in her decor showing through in the website design, I used neutral light and dark greys, lots of white space, and one bold green – the colour of her logo.

For the images, I chose photographs that showed off the interior of the rooms – the lovely decor, thoughtful details, gorgeous-looking beds and pretty artwork – all in greys with lovely pops of colour coming from the artwork. I then also sourced some stock photos that reflected the B&B’s style and ambience: refreshing, light, airy, elegant photographs of objects and details that would feel perfectly at home in this guesthouse.

For the website’s font pairings, I chose two Google fonts: the elegant Playfair Display serif font for headings (I am in love with the ampersand from this font), paired with the modern, easy-to-read sans serif Roboto in a light weight for the body text.

New website design:

 

Old website:

 

I am so happy with how this redesign turned out. The website design now reflects the guesthouse’s own beautiful style. Now it will appeal to the clientele Sue wants to attract. Conversion rates will improve, and with the extensive search engine optimisation I did behind the scenes, the website’s ranking is fast improving in this highly competitive hospitality industry.

I am a big fan of Fiona Humberstone (The Brand Stylist). Thanks to the Bird & Design blog for making me aware of Fiona (I have learnt so much from her!). I really think that Fiona would agree that the new Amber Avenue website elevates the brand. And as a designer, this is my number 1 goal.

View the new Amber Avenue Guesthouse website here.