Izumigo Resorts is a resort hotel group in Japan offering luxury resort hotels, secluded cottage escapes and dog-friendly paradises across central Japan.

Role

  • UI/UX Design
  • Front-end Development

The Impact

  • Up to 400% increase in bookings per month
  • Increase of global audience without additional marketing
  • Increased trust and user satisfaction

The Challenge

Izumigo Resorts hotel group consists of 18 resorts spread over 9 prefectures where each resort has its own unique website and facilities.

A variety of these websites didn't have a range of languages available other than Japanese and the group resort's global website consisted of only a single landing with minimal information. Another problem was that at some of these resorts, staff did not have the capability to speak in other languages leading to communication issues.

When wanting to attract a greater global audience, Izumigo Resorts came to JapanTravel for a full-scale resort group website on a budget. In essence the challenge was simple, we had to provide a website which travellers could use before and during their stay at any of the resorts.

NDA disclosure: confidential information and visuals have been omitted.

Deeper Insights and Building Trust

Izumigo's former website consisted of a single landing page lacking information about various resorts and contained low quality images.

We verified this evaluation by testing it on a handful of users. The results concluded that users didn't trust the website and had a difficult time deciding whether they'd want to stay at Izumigo.

Izumigo's former landing page
A snapshot of Izumigo's former landing page

To figure out what type of information users actually needed to make a decision on staying at Izumigo we interviewed users in conjunction with online research of reviews and questions on booking and review sites. This allowed us to gain deeper understanding through combining both qualitative and quantitative information.

Reviews of Izumigo Resorts

Escaping the City

Travelers staying at Izumigo generally want to escape the city and stay in a quiet remote area. However, remote areas come with the challenge of accessibility and a fear factor of not knowing what to expect in the vicinity.

Facing Unknowns

Travelers generally come to a hotel group website for more information and deals not provided on hotel comparison sites. They look for room amenities and hotel facilities combined with pictures to reassure individual needs are being met.

Pet Paradises

Pet friendly hotels are great, although not for everyone. Reviews showed that travelers without pets would most likely not want to stay at these type of hotels. On the other hand, pet owners want to make sure they can stay with their companion and want to know about things to do for animals.

Synthesising

Next, we combined these insights together with a competitor research, a swot and a feature analysis enabling us to brainstorm ideas for Izumigo's new platform.

Izumigo's strength is having 3 accommodation types aimed at different traveler types, each having its own personality and unique facilities.

Creating this distinction helped travelers find the right type of accommodation based on their needs. In addition, this distinction helped travelers without pets prevent having an unintended stay at a dog paradise.

Calming Blue

Relaxation at a ryokan

Natural Green

Become one with nature

Vibrant Yellow

In paradise with your pet

As the new website represented the full extend of Izumigo Resorts it needed to have a coherent and consistent experience amongst all variations.

We designed the accommodation pages for all type of stays with a similar flow consisting of an introduction, available rooms and amenities, facilities, model courses, accommodation information, access and the option to book a stay. This resulted in travelers being able to compare the differences between each accommodation type.

Izumigo's new accommodation page

Each accommodation had its own management system where booking options varied from using Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia or direct contact. We designed a booking button which opens up a modal view with the available options so that users could choose their preferred method of booking.

Izumigo's booking modal

Discover Izumigo

Most users would come to this website through review or booking websites. To help users discover other accommodations we created the option to discover by accommodation type or area.

At first we created an area grid to highlight the beauty of each area. Usability testing revealed that although users thought the areas looked nice, they'd have no clue where it is located.

Izumigo's area search by grid
Discover Izumigo by area

To solve this problem we created a discover by map feature which enabled users to understand where the resorts were located and gauge the distance between them rather than having to guess.

Izumigo's area search by map
Discover Izumigo by map

Because Japan is a long island and Izumigo Resorts is only located in rural central Japan, users didn't need a full map of Japan. Through user testing we figured out that as long as Tokyo and Osaka were on the map, users would relatively be able to determine the location of the resorts.

Viewing Rooms

One of the challenges was to keep the website low in pages due to budget restrictions and to provide users with all essential information necessary at the same time.

Through our prior research we determined that room pictures were vital for users to decide if they'd stay at an accommodation so we created an overview of the available rooms.

Izumigo's room overview

When clicking on a room, rather than going to a new page, we'd show a modal containing a short description and an image carousel so that users could view multiple images of each room.

Using this method we could still show all rooms available while keeping the amount of pages low or making one page extremely long as some would have up to 10 different room types.

Izumigo's detailed room view

Highlighting Facilities

As each accommodation had its own facilities we created a facility overview, highlighting the main feature to bring out a resorts unique personality.

Izumigo's highlighted facility of Altia Toba Hotel
Highlighted facility of Altia Toba Hotel

Discovering things to do

Usually travelers would already know what they wanted to do around the area before booking a hotel, however we crafted model itineraries to give some extra inspiration on what travelers could do in a day when spending their time at one of the resorts.

On the Model Course landing page we’ve created a filter by area, season and type so that users could find model courses suited to what they were looking for e.g. "Shizuoka", "Summer", "Couples".

Model course overview

The model course page contains a sticky map on the right side of the page while a user is scrolling down so that a user can directly see where the approximate locations are. Creating this feature helped users discover more things to do even in the most remote areas.

Model Course of Kiyosato

Collaboration

During this project we collaborated with the client by constantly keeping them up to date throughout the process. The site went through a continuous iteration wherein we would demonstrate wireframes, high fidelity mockups and Invision prototypes to convey concepts and progress.

To further attract foreign customers we advised Izumigo Resorts to provide exclusive offers and put legitimate customer reviews on the website to gain more attraction as it was outside of the scope of the current project.

Izumigo's homepage on desktop and mobile

The results

The final results of this project have been tremendous and even went beyond client expectations. After launching the new website, the average amount of bookings per month increased up to 400% of global audiences without additional marketing.