Holiday Inn Express (HIEX) might have once lived in its historic sister-brand’s shadow, but budget-conscious travel that’s clean, consistent, and in HIEX’s case, happily studded with tiny delights, is pretty enticing to travelers. We brought the hotel chain’s “simple, smart travel” brand to the web, incorporating clear usability, clean design, and more than a little bit of wit.
A perfect stay, in symbols
If our strategy were a math equation, it would have been subtraction. Working from the perspective of someone just trying to book a hotel (in line at the grocery store…in between meetings at work), we cut dead-weight copy, simplified design to create logical paths to vital guest information, and created simple symbols to help users understand at-a-glance the perks of staying with Express.
Prototype > presentations
Our design-in-the-browser methodology was key to working within IHG’s extensive technology infrastructure, and helped us show the brand’s many global stakeholders what the experience would really look, feel, and act like on every screen really early on. This made things move quickly, and let us work in multiple refinements relating to the more technical parts of the site.
Smart and simple, everywhere
HIEX is parent company Intercontinental Hotels Group’s largest brand. For us, this meant wrangling regional sensitivities around word choice and imagery, and creating an exceptional online experience for both a main site and more than 2,400 templated sub-sites for each of the franchise's worldwide properties.