Bridging Time: Sharing a Historic Inn’s Majesty with its Audience Online

The Weekapaug Inn approached me about launching a new guest site to coincide with a major renovation they had recently completed. The Inn itself has a long history in the community and it sits upon the beautiful Quonochontaug salt pond. The media team had put a temporary site in place after the renovation but wanted something that spoke to the Inn’s history as well as showcased its contemporary beauty. We thought capturing old and new in the site's design was a worthy challenge and we started work wholeheartedly.

Method Designing

We agreed that the best way for us to understand the property and it’s value to the Inn’s guests was to do a site visit. We met the staff in Weekapaug and stayed a week on site learning what makes the Inn such a great place to visit. Many of the Inn's guests already thought highly of the establisment so we focused our time experienceing the inn as all of it's guests were. We sat in the common rooms chatting with vacationers, participitaed in activities, strolled the grounds, and toured the surrounds all while taking reems of notes and photographs.The only thing we couldn't do was experience this year-round Inn in all four seasons, for that perspective we had to rely on the Inn's excellent staff.

Trust the Experteise of Your Clients

While touring the Inn and it’s surroundings we met with many of the Inn’s staff. Personal interviews with the staff in their work environment helped us understand what made the Inn such a great experience for its guests, the brand and the culture they cultivated. We continued this collaboration back at our desks and worked closely with the staff on content and structure. We were lucky to have access to great photography, which is essential for an experience driven company.

Getting the Design Right

The media team already had a lot of great written content and we expected they would continue to write more. So we focused on typography that would let their narrative shine. We also had a huge library of great photography that the media team had grown over the years as well as a few shots we got ourselves while on the site visit. And during our site visit we learned about the culture of the Inn through interviews and activities. All of this we used to express the culture of the Inn. We produced a lot of design, eventually narrowing it down to a few choices we shared with their team. Once these designs were shared with a larger audience within the Weekapaug we realized we still hadn't nailed the brand. We strive for perfect so we allowed a final round of fresh designs. The entire team loved the designs and with some minor adjustments we were ready to build.

Building for Both Sides of the Stage

Of course we wanted a site that spoke to and worked well for the needs of their audience of future guests, but we also knew we needed a back-end that would work for the prolific Weekapaug media team. They managed several other property websites through the CMS Concrete 5, so we learned that technology and built them their new site on top of it. Since the site launched we have continued our relatuonship with the Weekapaug team; we regularly provide advice and support for a site that their guests and staff love.