Digital Transformation

IHG Design for mobile booking

In today’s world, the visual language is of extreme importance to hotel brand affinity and conversion. A good photo is worth a thousand words. Owning several hotel brands with its reach spanning all over the world, IHG wanted to deliver its visual identity to the public in a more consistent way in order to enhance online user experience. The goal is especially important because at present hotels can interact far more intimately with their clients than ever before.

Touch’s mission was to help IHG understand how people book hotels online, how consumer behavior has changed in the mobile age and how we can support consumer needs in order to boost online sales.

The Rise of the Mobile Era: Shifting toward a new paradigm in hotel photography

The way that people browse photos on mobile devices has changed photography styles. Technical aspects aside, there are limitations to hotel photography for digital channels, especially considering that every detail is unlikely to be displayed clearly on tiny screens.

At the same time, people are always on the go. The accelerated lifestyle forces users to utilise short breaks in their schedules and make instant decisions on a daily basis. Not to mention the audience’s attention can be easily shifted away. The abundance of content on digital channels dazzles the eye and paralyses decision-making. In a nutshell, the new paradigm in hotel photography has to be ‘tiny-screen-centric’.

Work in Progress: A highly experiential on-site simulation to understand target users’ preference

To better elicit the perceptions and opinions of modern travellers about choosing hotels, we held four rounds of focus groups. Each group consisted of opinion leaders in design and lifestyle who have abundant travel experience and have at least one loyal membership of hotel brand ranging from luxury to mid-scale.

An on-site workshop for each focus group simulated choosing hotels on a mobile device with the aim of optimizing online user experience. The workshop enabled Touch to observe the whole experience in a more natural, intuitive way and led us to find solid insights and bring research inquiries to the next level.

A Desirable Photo to Stimulate the Imagination

How to get the attention of the audience? How to make a desirable photo that stimulate the audience’s imagination and conveys brand identity? How to incorporate the findings into photo shooting?

To answer these questions, Touch identified the key factors that influence users’ decision making by employing multiple strategic methodologies including competitive analysis, investigation of photo features, current trends on mobile devices, expert and stakeholder interviews, etc. Through this we provided the best ‘formula’ for hotels to shoot and present photos on tiny screens.