By Sarah Cullen
Red Roof and SapientRazorfish recently came together to revamp the Red Roof website using key insights about U.S. travelers. Aaron Stenhoff, Vice President, Marketing & Digital at Red Roof, and Lenny Vaccaro, Senior Associate, Interactive Program Management at SapientRazorfish, took the time to give us a better look at what differentiates the website from others in the industry and the importance of a mobile-first, consumer-centric approach to design.
AdForum: What was the biggest challenge in revamping Red Roof’s website, given that it is already an established brand?
Aaron Stenhoff: One of the biggest challenges was simplifying the booking experience for customers. With so many complicated business rules related to room rates, corporate discounts and our loyalty programs, the team needed to first understand the structure and logic of the rules and then ensure that the website represented them accurately and simply.
AdForum: With so many competitors in the market, what are some of the unique features that the Red Roof’s website provides for its users?
Aaron Stenhoff: The most unique feature is the Along-a-Route functionality. This tool provides customers with Red Roof locations directly along their route, not out of the way or behind them, so they can book quickly and easily. Future plans include an artificial intelligence-enabled chatbot, increasing engagement and supporting users through the booking process, as well as ‘Quickbook’ functionality, allowing loyalty users to book stays with just a few taps.
AdForum: SapientRazorfish describes itself as having ‘a customer-centric approach and with game-changing technology at their core’. How does such an ethos contribute to your ability to achieve a successful rebirth for companies such as Red Roof?
Lenny Vaccaro: Understanding the unique Red Roof consumer and their specific needs led us to rethink how we typically approach a hospitality site redesign. Red Roof’s customers often book last minute, based on which locations are nearby when they are ready to finish their work day or stop for the night on a road trip, and they are increasingly booking from their smart phones. With this in mind, we designed a mobile-first site that could adapt to this type of behaviour and allow users to quickly find properties convenient for them and book with ease. Additionally, understanding the complex rate structures allowed us to serve up search results in the most clear and concise way possible for customers to find the best rate.
AdForum: Since the launch of the new Red Roof website, what kind of results have you observed? And what has the customer feedback been like?
Aaron Stenhoff: Mobile bookings on RedRoof.com have doubled since Red Roof launched its mobile-focused website redesign on June 9. Mobile conversions increased 118 percent. Our page speed has dramatically increased and we now boast the fastest website in our segment.