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The Villa Italy

WordPress Website Design & Development

The Villa Italy is a collection of six amazing villas and the business is all about luxury vacations. First impressions are important and the client felt that their website didn’t reflect the premium nature of their service. It was my job to deliver a new website that helped sell the dream more effectively.

Custom WordPress Website Design & Development - The Villa Italy

An overview of the main challenges.

The existing site was built on a ready-to-use theme with generic templates. This meant that The Villa Italy had to fit content to suit the design, rather than build an experience based on the needs of the business.

There were plenty of broken elements on mobile that were causing impactful user experience issues. Having images not loading up or being cropped badly was damaging. At worst, it gave a sloppy feel to the brand. At best, these symptoms would hurt conversions. I knew that fixing the various customer journeys was of paramount importance.

Lastly, the legacy site was full of plugins and significantly out of date, causing a large security risk. The infrastructure was stuck in limbo and I had to unpick the problems.

I planned out and developed a new, multilingual WordPress website, one that put user experience at the heart of everything. Every job is different and every website needs to have a design that facilitates their key offer, no matter what the product or service is.

Villa Italy customers can now explore all six villas easily and take on the luxurious ambience thanks to the smooth imagery and powerful videos. I focused heavily on the user experience and most importantly, I ensured a seamless booking experience.

WordPress Website Design & Development - Single Villa Page - The Villa Italy
WordPress Website Design & Development - Destination Page - The Villa Italy

Leveraging the power of visuals.

Some products need powerful imagery and that’s definitely true of luxury vacations. Villas are about selling aspirations and dreams, so I knew that I needed to build a website that could create an emotional connection with people. The content had to tell a story.

My view was that I wanted people to feel like they were inside the properties through their monitors. We needed the website to create a journey before the real thing. Put simply, the website had to become an experience in itself. It needed to communicate just how amazing these luxury vacations are.

Visitors now see much more than a view from a window or the layout of a bedroom. The bottom line is, this is about more than just a property… that’s why web traffic can now see things like the chef cooking, thanks to the professional photos provided by the client.

Using large, clear images isn’t without its challenges, though. In particular, they have to look crisp on every page and align perfectly with the copy. Then there’s the speed of the site to consider, which in turn affects user experience.

WordPress Website Design & Development - Mobile Mockup - The Villa Italy
WordPress Website Design & Development - Mobile Mockup - The Villa Italy
WordPress Website Design & Development - Mobile Mockup - The Villa Italy

Enabling the villas to sell themselves.

As well as using my design skills to help create an impactful, emotional connection between the visitor and the villas, I worked hard on the logistical side of things. I knew that I had to make the booking experience as clean as possible.

The client uses an external booking engine, where all the villas are listed and consumers can search for different dates before securing a vacation.

Originally, if you were looking to book a particular villa and clicked the CTA, you would be redirected to a separate landing page where you’d see the availability for all six villas after entering the dates. This was a poor experience for the user – we knew from the analytics that some people were bouncing out of the booking process and I think this was a key reason why.

I simplified the process by modifying the way the external booking system was set up. Now, instead of having to click a CTA to book the villa and meeting a lot of redundant data, users directly see the booking bar on the villa page they’re viewing.

Visitors just enter their dates and only get availability information on the villa they’re interested in. Customers who are looking to book from a generic page, such as the homepage, would still get details on all the villas and be able to pick one.

WordPress Website Design & Development - Hero Section - The Villa Italy
WordPress Website Design & Development - Destinations Section - The Villa Italy

Design from scratch.

Developing websites from scratch allows me to ensure that the website meets every business goal and need. For Villa Italy, it was important to build an emotional connection between the visitor and the villas and provide a seamless booking experience.

Custom WordPress development.

The website is fast, secure and it’s been built with longevity in mind. We made a custom WordPress theme, with everything planned around the native WordPress Gutenberg editor.

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