When I joined BedandBreakfast.com in 2012, the company had been around for years and in desperate need of a brand refresh. The reputation of B&Bs and inns was (and probably still is) lodging for an older generation who liked dollies and lace, talking to other guests and innkeepers, and eating together.
As the only UX/Marketing designer, I gently banned photos with people (especially generic stock ones of older couples). Travelers should be able to imagine themselves at any of these places and be attracted to inns for their uniqueness and often, stunning locations.
Methodically and gradually, I went through the most important pieces and redesigned them. Everything from pop-up tradeshow banners to online add banners to emails to review cards got touched and revamped.
Most importantly, I did a large audit of the site itself and created new site maps that helped the product and marketing teams move forward with a plan (including finally having a responsive experience). The innkeeper’s dashboard is called “HomeBase” and re-mapping, re-designing that alone was a developer’s nightmare.
Eventually, I managed to rid the site of textured linen backgrounds, pillboxes, and any UI that made the site feel outdated. Now, the focus is on large giant photographs of inns and destinations, and aspirational place for travelers to find that perfect place to escape.
The end result was a new branding guide, and a more modern site that continues to evolve.