How One Great George Street more than doubled their web traffic from ‘accessible’ design and web marketing strategies
Article by Sara Wasser
Over the space of a year, central London conference centre One Great George Street has more than doubled their web traffic from re-designing their website to make it more user friendly and DDA compliant. To gain better search engine positioning and hence increase traffic further they have also embarked on an SEO project.
Who are One Great George Street?One Great George Street is an elegant and historic central London conference venue. Situated in the heart of Westminster the venue has 19 rooms suitable for a plethora of events, from conferences to meetings; training sessions to product launches, awards dinners to private fine dining and the venue is also available for exclusive use for weekend wedding receptions. With modern and traditional rooms and the capacity for 6-400 guests, there’s a room for every occasion.
Although a well known and established conference venue already, in 2004 it was felt that the corporate image needed to be updated to better reflect the prestigious nature of the business. So, along with a new logo and new brochures an access-friendly website was brought online in Feb 2005.
Website creationDesigned and created with the help of marketing agency WDPA (now SOUK Response) and built by E-Business (part of Thomas Telford Ltd), the new site adopted the fresh new streamlined look that can be seen on all other literature and material. As well as updating the site aesthetically, the aim was also to make it more in line with the new DDA standards. The venue is keen to offer a service for all, so that people of all abilities have easy access to the site and the facilities in the building.
Improvements and additions included an option for changing text size for sight-impaired users and a page detailing accessibility features in the building. A text version is also currently being developed to improve the accessibility. With a clear navigation system, it was made easier to work through from searching for a suitable room, to seeing virtual tours and making a booking. As wedding receptions are an increasingly valuable source of business to One Great George Street, two distinct sections were created – one for weddings and one for corporate visitors. These markets have very different requirements so it’s important to separate them to make the site more relevant for the visitor.
Search Engine Optimisation opportunitiesOn the SEO front, basic foundations were laid down by E-business in late 2005 with the aim of testing the waters whilst fully researching the SEO options. During the last 6 months since adding keywords, alt tags, meta tags etc, the positioning on the key search engines has increased slightly, but by working with an experienced SEO agency the aim is to get even higher visibility. Commercetuned (www.commercetuned.co.uk) are working on an ongoing project which includes adding new website coding, link building and providing recommendations on keyword positioning on the customer interface.
With search engine marketing and optimisation being such hot topics, the One Great George Street marketing strategy needs to keep up with and top of these trends and are therefore fully embracing any changes. The marketing plan has been adapted over the last two years to incorporate this more and more with all campaigns now including e-shots and web advertising as a core element and all communications are directing the client to the website.
Visitor numbersWith visitor numbers increasing so significantly, the re-designed website has been a great success. Over the last 3 months a key campaign was undertaken and a quarterly e-newsletter was distributed and the success of these can clearly be seen with visitor numbers at nearly triple what they were before the re-design. From the visitor statistics what is also very encouraging is the increase in ‘returning’ visitors. This again has doubled over the last 6 months to 28% of total visitors.
This increase in traffic is great news for the venue and is far more than expected, but there is still more that can be done to improve the awareness of this conference centre, which is why Commercetuned are now on board working on an all encompassing SEO/SEM project.
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