18 Million dollar for a website

Four Seasons got a lot of buzz last week with the announcement of their new website. As announced they dropped down 18 Million dollar to have their new website up and running.

This is a shitload of money, for a website.. This weekend after I was joking around with a few other people on Twitter I started thinking about it and how it could get to that amount of money.

Let’s analyze how they could have “invested” this money.

First up is the design of the Four Seasons website.
The design is nice and clean with even responsive design coming in :). This is especially important with about 70% of their costumers using mobile phones and about 60% tablets.

Second I really hope that they’ve tagged the shit out of the website.
So they can find every little error and UX error and being able to improve upon. With 30 Million visitors this will costs quiet a lot of money as well.

Third the CMS and CRM system behind it.
This will have costs the most money to connect the new website with their backend and the backend from all their hotels. Furthermore I suppose the hotels will be having a unique entrance and area where they can upload new information and see what they write about the hotel.

Social Media Integration.
The integration is very well done with Tripadvisor, Twitter and Facebook integration. It’s one of the nicest designs in the hotel business I’ve seen.

But now I get to a point I absolutely don’t get…

So they recognized the need for mobile adaptations, hence the responsive design.

But where ARE the mobile Apps?

If 70% of their customers are carrying a smart phone and 60% a tablet, you want to be there if they look for apps.

Not only for the booking process but as well the moment they arrive and give the best customer service they could have imagined themselves.

This is the point where they really should have invested and getting the most out of their dollars. I have no idea if they will be launching new apps soon, if yes, I’ll certainly check them out.

The conclusion of the Four Seasons story.

While I suppose it was a good investment, a bit overpriced but still a good investment I’m actually surprised with the fact that they’ve invested in the current and yesterday’s way of booking and not for tomorrow’s.

I suppose they’ve done their calculations before they gave the go-ahead, but I think it’s gonna be hard with this new website to an extra ROI from this 18 million dollar.

And I think it’s a shame that they haven’t invested more in their mobile efforts and less in the desktop experience.

Have a look at the this post from econsultancy with some very good comments

Sven de Meyere has a SEO directed write-up on his website (In Dutch)