A suite of 30 Drupal websites to strengthen the digital presence of an iconic Aussie hospitality empire.
Built in Drupal 9
With over 30 hotels and pubs located across New South Wales, Laundy Hotels are one of the largest hospitality businesses in Australia.
Ranging from traditional pubs to modern hotels, their venues offer a wide variety of accommodation, dining and entertainment options.
For this family-owned and operated business, high quality service and a great customer experience is paramount, which is why each venue offers a unique experience to suit different tastes and budgets.
Laundy Hotels recently embarked on a process of digital transformation. Under the guidance of a new Digital Manager, they wanted to transform their collection of hotel websites into a more cohesive, streamlined solution.
The aim was to increase SEO and booking conversion rates, simplify website management to reduce internal administration time and improve the visitor experience.
A unified design system to provide distinct online identities for 30+ venues while streamlining management and maintenance.
With 30+ different venues across the Laundy Hotel empire, the challenge was to design a unique online presence for each, while streamlining the task of managing and maintaining the websites across the business.
Because Laundy venues vary greatly from one another and cater to different audiences, we focused our attention on defining the essential tasks of hospitality venue websites: finding the venue, opening times and contact details, the menu, upcoming events and online bookings.
With the design budget stretched across 30 different websites, the solution to ensuring the best ROI was to create a design system that could be rolled out across all websites while enabling each venue to maintain its unique branding.
In this design system, reusable content blocks can be applied to all websites, while the visual identity including logos, fonts, colours and imagery can be changed for each venue.
Creating an efficient and consistent design system for a 30-site multisite instance requires careful planning. Here’s how we did it:
We established design guidelines for each venue that included typography, colour palettes and image elements.
Based on these guidelines we developed a design system for components such as headers, footers, navigation menus and forms. Other design elements were designed to be flexible and adaptable to suit different site contexts.
We documented the design system in a style guide that was easy to reference and reuse for each new venue website.
We tested the design system, got feedback from stakeholders and refined it to ensure it was efficient and effective across all sites
Leveraging Drupal powerful multisite features.
After establishing a design system for the varied venues the next step was to consistently implement features across all websites. With a focus on technical execution, we turned to Drupal 9's multisite feature to manage the complexities of our design framework effectively.
The inherent challenge was to ensure that each venue had a consistent set of key features including:
A homepage banner
Cards to display venue features
A page to display menu items with prices
A Contact Us page
Reusable components to construct new pages for marketing campaigns
Using Drupal 9's multi-site feature enabled us to operate all websites using a single codebase while maintaining individual databases for each venue. Consequently, this facilitated the management of separate content and configurations, minimising the need for disparate modules or themes.
The multisite setup greatly streamlined our website development process. Instead of handling separate components for each website, we were able to centralise the administration of modules and themes. The additional advantage was the capacity to implement security and functionality updates from one central location, facilitating simultaneous deployment across all websites.
Addressing the key challenges involved innovative solutions and strategic planning
Colour Palette Duplication
The need to establish unique theme colour palettes for each venue without duplicating style guides was a significant challenge. We resolved this by leveraging CSS variables, which allowed us to define a global scope for colour scheme that can be applied consistently across different websites.
Website Creation for Diverse Venues
Creating new websites for 30 distinct venues presented a considerable task. To manage this we devised a bash script with distinct inputs for each venue's name and colour palette. This script automated the process of generating a new theme, setting up the Drupal multisite section, creating a new database, and cloning the existing database image into the new one. As a result, we could create a new site in under five minutes, saving developer time, simplifying the creation of new websites, and streamlining maintenance tasks for our support team.
Future Expansion Considerations
Anticipating potential venue acquisitions in the future, it was crucial to ensure that our design system was flexible enough to accommodate any additions. Our design system was developed to be easily scalable and adaptable, allowing for effortless integration of new venues and their unique branding.
Efficiency and Commercial Viability
With a considerable upfront investment in our design system framework, it was vital to demonstrate a commercially viable and time-efficient process to design, build, and deploy new websites. The automation and centralisation of our design and deployment processes, alongside the use of Drupal 9's multisite feature, enabled us to provide a robust demonstration of efficiency and commercial feasibility.
We transformed Laundy Hotels' digital landscape, boosting both management efficiency and user experience.
Digital Transformation Across the Group
Today, Laundy Hotels boasts a state-of-the-art suite of websites across their hospitality group. These websites are not only easy to manage and administer, but they also provide a consistent approach to branding, messaging, and digital presence.
Streamlined Development with Drupal Multisite
The implementation of a Drupal multisite instance across all venues has created a single codebase for multiple websites while maintaining a separate database for each venue. This has streamlined the development process and centralised the creation of components, which can be deployed across all sites simultaneously.
Flexible Design System for Unique Branding
Our design system utilises reusable content blocks that can be used across all websites while allowing each venue to maintain its unique branding and style.
Enhanced Management and Administration
Ultimately, the Doghouse solution has simplified website management for the hotel group, while supporting the individual identity of each venue. Venue managers benefit from a streamlined process for updating specials and menus, and the centralised system simplifies marketing and website administration.
Improved Visitor Experience
The visitor experience is enhanced by the consistent booking experience across the hotel group, along with the ability to manage bookings across venues via the SevenRooms reservation platform.
Cohesive and Streamlined Online Solution
With the transformation of their digital presence, Laundy Hotels now boasts a cohesive and streamlined online solution. This has simplified website management, reduced internal administration time, and improved the visitor experience. As a result, each venue can focus on the critical task of providing outstanding service and entertainment to their local communities.
Have a suite of websites to build? We've tackled numerous large-scale multi-site rollouts. Drop us a line :)