How do you showcase a hotel that hasn’t been built yet?

This was the exact question we asked ourselves when we were tasked with designing and building a website for Hotel Verde Zanzibar, a luxury five-star resort still in its construction phase.

The answer is simple: you start with the resources you have. After an intensive brand workshop with Verde Hotels, the company overseeing construction and management of Hotel Verde Zanzibar, we were guided in the direction it envisions the hotel to be.

Website landing page. (Image: Hotel Verde Zanzibar)

We started with the prospective target market, being international business, family and leisure travellers, as well as local Zanzibari and Tanzanian travellers. In order to appeal to international, local, business and leisure markets, we decided to look at visual elements we could use to tell the story of Hotel Verde Zanzibar.

Our first step was to look at patterns. Patterns tell a story of their own, especially when you go into historical and cultural relevance of certain shapes. Zanzibar boasts a rich history, and a melting pot of cultures: Persian, Indian and Arab traders used Zanzibar as a base for voyages between the Middle East, India and Africa from the 15th century. With many of these influences blending into the local Zanzibari and Swahili cultures, Zanzibar has a vibrant visual library.

We looked at patterns that pay homage to Zanzibar's history. (Image: Hotel Verde Zanzibar)

We looked at patterns that pay homage to and reference this unique aesthetic, as well as adding a recognisable brand element following the hotel’s decoration scheme. In this way we could target international guests with a visual appeal, without alienating the domestic market, and at the same time speak to the brand of the hotel.

Secondly, we looked at colour. Using the palette of colours prominently used throughout the hotel, we identified green, coral and black as statement colours.

We opted for green, which first and foremost speaks to the brand (Hotel Verde Zanzibar) and the fact that the hotel will be the greenest hotel in Zanzibar. The hotel is also located next to lush mangrove forests.

Various hues of coral speak to the location of the hotel, being situated next to a marina that is to be developed into a diving centre to explore the nearby coral reefs. The hotel also lies to the west of the island, which means beautiful orange and coral sunsets.

Various hues of coral speak to the location of the hotel, being situated next to a marina that is to be developed into a diving centre to explore the nearby coral reefs. (Image: Hotel Verde Zanzibar)

Lastly, we used black is a grounding colour. Traditional Zanzibari patterns often use black to outline and enhance shapes, so we decided to use black to outline the website as well as give it an elegant appeal.

These colours are also unusual in terms of brand strategy, with typical island resorts opting for baby blues and sandy beiges.

After identifying these key elements, the website seemed to fall in place. Opting for a modern and clean layout, we were able to present the hotel and its offerings in a visual way. Instead of using strings of paragraphs and copy to explain Hotel Verde Zanzibar, we focused on photos with a parallax functionality (a scrolling effect that overlaps background images with the foreground), allowing for an easy and engaging user experience.

Opting for a modern and clean layout, we were able to present the hotel and its offerings in a visual way. (Image: Hotel Verde Zanzibar)

“I think that the website is in line with the kind of innovation we are trailblazing into the market, aligning our business model toward our market segments. The simple, clean and contemporary look and feel speaks to our brand perfectly,” says Calvin Boia, Verde Hotels marketing manager.

We are so proud of the finished project – and we can’t wait to see how the hotel and website will grow following their launch in 2018!

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