The May Fair Hotel is the 5-star flagship property of the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels group. In the heart of London, the hotel boasts over 400 luxury bedrooms, a health spa, a private cinema and exceptional fine dining. The May Fair has a prestigious history and was first opened by King George V in 1927. Today it combines boutique attention to detail with grand hotel service, and enjoys partnerships with important cultural events such as London Fashion Week and the BFI London Film Festival.
As the group's flagship property, The May Fair is unique in its exclusivity and standard of luxury. Following a recent £100 million renovation, the hotel needed to reestablish its brand both physically and virtually. The hotel required a fresh new website with a sophisticated look and feel which set it apart from other hotels and created an inviting overall online experience for the guest.
The hotel's original website was unimaginative and lacked key functionalities. The May Fair needed a solution that integrated essential e-commerce functions for accommodation and restaurant bookings, microsites for the spa and conference facilities and more. In addition, the previous website was operated and managed remotely by an overseas team. Modifying the site or implementing new features were long and drawn out processes that hindered the hotel's business agility – one change to the website could take several months to implement. A complete overhaul of the website, its functionalities and look and feel was required.
Liferay was chosen because it could deliver an exceptional look and feel, as well as all the essential functionalities. Room bookings were integrated with the central reservations system, private pages could be created for exclusive guests or special events, and an analytics system was introduced. Further integrations with Apache, SSL for bookings and transactions, single sign-on and multivariate testing features were also implemented to create a high-value business solution. Together, all these capabilities created a seamless, personalised experience that made guests feel welcome and want to return to the website and to the hotel itself. The May Fair in turn was able to cultivate valuable relationships with its guests, analyse return visits and user behaviour, and deliver a highly customised experience.
As an open source technology, Liferay offered the freedom to build a solution around the guests' needs – the central tenet to the hospitality industry. Having previously been locked into a high-cost proprietary solution, the team building The May Fair site welcomed Liferay's lightweight platform and used it to create an agile solution that could be customised further as needed. The result is a unique online experience that reflects the ethos and character of The May Fair, with an agility that means changes to content, layout and integration now happen within days rather than months. Liferay's product maturity, its wealth of out-of-the-box features, and the health of its open source community assured Radisson that it was the right choice.
Business Value Added
The new website now gives The May Fair the dynamic web presence such a unique hotel requires. Messaging can be tailored for the visitor, particularly for returning guests, and the content is kept fresh so that visitors return to the website again and again. Since implementing Liferay, the number of new and returning online visitors has grown, as has revenue through online reservations. The May Fair site is now an attractive and enjoyable journey for the visitor, and the ability to deliver a great web experience increases loyalty to the brand and, ultimately, drives business revenue.
Liferay's usability has also benefitted the hotels group by increasing employee productivity and collaboration. Every Radisson Blu Edwardian employee logs in each day through the Liferay platform to get information and to collaborate with their fellow employees. Business units also use Liferay to communicate externally. The platform's usability and its use of permissioning and roles empower the ordinary business user with the ability to manage the site without depending heavily on the e-commerce team.
There are now seven different sites in the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels group built on Liferay, including a mobile site for The May Fair. The potential for further innovation is vast, and the group anticipates major developments in the near future – including a new property development in Leicester Square. Like the May Fair, this is likely to require its own branding exercise, and creative new concepts are also being explored for the hotels' food and beverage segments. Liferay's agility and scalability are making these developments possible, and the knowledge accumulated will continue to be embedded throughout all aspects of the business and exploited as much as possible, multiplying the value of their investment in Liferay.