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Growth-Driven Design (GDD)

Everything you need to know about Growth-Driven Design (GDD)

08 July 2022


Put simply, Growth-Driven Design is better marketing for hospitality. It is based on the idea of “done is better than perfect”.

The traditional process of website design and development is broken. The frustrations, challenges, unreliable and inconsistent results we experience during a website (re-)design are the product of an outdated and broken process.

Growth-Driven Design is a smarter approach to web design, development, ongoing optimisation, and marketing. It eliminates all the headaches and drives optimal results using data.

Growth-Driven Design works in 3 phases:

  1. Strategy
  2. Launch pad
  3. Continuous improvement

Benefits of Growth-Driven Design

We understand the frustrations of traditional website development. It is often completed late and over budget. Mostly, it is built on opinions, not real data. The new website is then left and not worked on until the next major redesign, years in the future.

With Growth-Driven Design, you can have a better, higher-performing website in half the time. You will have the ability to launch on-time and on-budget. The new website is then continually improved using customer data, allowing us – and you – to make informed month-on-month improvements. Your hotel website is continually improving and evolving to meet your customer’s needs.

The GDD Process

1. Strategy

Successful websites begin with a focussed growth strategy. At Umi, we use a variety of methods to build a bespoke strategy for your website to accurately target your customers and grow conversion rates. These methods include:

2. Launch pad

Once we are happy with the amount of user research and planning, we start building a launch pad. The launch pad is a basic working prototype of your new site. It contains the main pages and the must-have features which were decided upon in the group brainstorming session. This prototype is used to give you an idea of the layout and functionality of your new site. Creating the launch pad includes a number of steps, such as:

3. Continuous improvement

Once your launch pad is live, it’s time to focus on continuously improving the site. Long gone are the days of launching a website and never touching the code again. The aim here is to reduce reactive changes and to be proactively in charge of your online presence. Using a proven methodology to increase revenue, we can confidently make informed decisions about changes to your website. Continuous improvement is managed in ongoing four-week cycles and follows a simple process:

Hypothesis → prioritisation → A/B testing → implementation

The Continuous Improvement Wish List

The launch pad is a great example of the phrase “done is better than perfect”. However, as we do strive for close-to-perfection once the site has been launched, we rely on a wish list. The list regularly undergoes prioritisation using our P.I.E ranking system to order from high-impact to low-impact items. With a launchpad site live and collecting user data, you can start identifying the high-impact actions you can take to grow your business. Items which cannot be completed in the current cycle will be kept on the wish list and reviewed in the next cycle.

This wish list can include different points, such as:

A/B testing as part of continuous improvement

Put simply, A/B testing is a user testing method where you create two variants of an element on your website. Variant A (the original) will be tested against variant B (the amended element). Most elements – such as CTA buttons, colour, text, images, backgrounds, fonts, etc – can be tested. The “successful” variant will be the one with the higher click rate, conversion rate, or any other pre-defined metric. 

This research method plays a vital role in Growth-Driven Design. It’s not enough to continuously improve your website – you need to continuously and strategically improve it. There is no point in making random changes, hoping that one of them might result in an increased conversion rate. And if it does – by pure chance – you won’t be able to ever replicate it, as you won’t know what caused the increase.

That’s where strategic A/B testing comes in. Alongside other user testing tools, A/B testing is the most powerful key to website optimisation. After launching your hotel website, A/B testing allows you to harness user behaviour and turn it into actual, tangible results. Additionally, it means that you are no longer wasting precious development time on potentially useless website updates.

Read more about how A/B testing can help you prioritise functionality over looks.

Mindset shift towards website development

As Harry explains on our podcast – Umi & a Cup of Tea – we need a mindset shift towards website development. Listen to the whole episode here.

We treat digital assets the same way we treat physical assets. Like ripping out all carpets or refurbishing all bathrooms, we tend to do a significant overhaul rather than improving continuously. We go through the whole process again from square one. This mindset comes from print design, where once something is printed, you cannot easily change it. Think brochures, magazine ads or even billboards. But digital is different. Digital has the wonderful benefit of allowing incremental change. We can constantly swap and try things until we find that conversion rate sweet spot, which is slightly different for each business. A year after launch, a GDD website should look very different from when it was launched. Harry highlights, “Never settle for what you have, nothing is ever a finished product. The launch pad is the starting point on which to evolve.”


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