Marketing Website and CMS for Accommodation Unlimited
Accommodation Unlimited is a letting agency serving Bristol and the Greater Bristol area, with offices located in the popular Redland area of Bristol, as well as in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare. The company provides rental accommodation for both professionals and students, whilst providing landlords with a unique buy-to-let personal shopping service in addition to a full property management and lettings service.
To create a new website that would attract more landlords and showcase the company's expertise and services. The website had to recognise that landlords are investors and demonstrate that Accommodation Unlimited is the 'go-to' agency in Bristol for advice & services for all aspects of making a property investment.
- Integration of an easy-to-use content-management system enabling staff to quickly update content, including blog posts.
- Improved navigation for website users by the introduction of signposts with calls to action.
- An enhanced property search function enabling visitors the site to find information and resources quickly.
- A more useful contact form for businesses with pre-filled fields and the use of ‘Captcha’ software (to verify that a human rather than a computer is entering data) improved the quality of data capture and the company’s ability to respond to requests. E.g. for valuations.
- The introduction of a 'Hot Right Now' feature with heatmap linked to Google maps highlighting which areas and properties are most popular, as well as giving landlords information with regards to expected rental returns.
Since the website has gone live, Accommodation Unlimited has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from landlords and has seen an increase in favourited tweets and retweets via its Twitter account. Time has also been saved on staff administration as the Content Management System is now being used to update content on the website
Full Case Study
Accommodation Unlimited is a letting agency serving Bristol and the Greater Bristol area. The company provides rental accommodation for professionals and students, whilst working with landlords to get the most from their buy-to-let investments.
With tenants gravitating towards the well-known nationwide brands of Zoopla and Rightmove, (where properties can be viewed from multiple letting agencies) Accommodation Unlimited re-branded the company to more strongly position themselves in the landlord market. Following the re-brand, director Peter Ellis recognised that the time was right to change the emphasis of the website to become a resource tool for landlords by including information about tenancy issues etc, whilst still maintaining a profile for tenants.Their website had historically showcased properties and had been heavily orientated to the tenancy market with only a small section for landlords. The new website had to be easy to update and had to recognise that landlords are investors. The site had to demonstrate that Accommodation Unlimited is THE 'go-to' agency in Bristol for advice & services for all aspects of making an investment in property.
Accommodation Unlimited has had a long association with Evergreen. Prior to Evergreen's first involvement with the company over 10 years ago just 20% of Accommodation Unlimited's business came through their website. Evergreen designed a new website and online database for them using an e-commerce 'shopping basket' facility for tenants to choose which properties they wished to view. Accommodation Unlimited saw their website business increase to more than 75% after the website created by Evergreen went live.
In 2014 Evergreen was, therefore, the obvious choice for Peter Ellis, director of Accommodation Unlimited to approach to address his company's latest challenge. He was confident that the Gloucestershire based software development specialists could help the Accommodation Unlimited team achieve success for the new focus of the business. Says Peter, '”we did get a few quotes from other companies but still chose Evergreen, who weren't the cheapest but it was more important for us to work with a company who were reliable, who knew our business well and who knew the issues we had with our software and data feed.”
“A professional approach with a solution tailored to our specific needs.”
Evergreen think of business problems more as challenges. They have applied their database and business system software development expertise to help many businesses across a wide range of industry sectors, by providing web solutions to help realise business goals. Each project that is brought to the table is looked at individually, with solutions that are customised to the needs of each customer. Says Peter, '”Evergreen approached this project with professionalism. It was clear from the start that having identified our problems they would be creating a solution that was tailored to our specific needs and not trying to just fit us into an existing template.”
Working from the new designs supplied by Accommodation Unlimited's design partners, Evergreen installed an integrated easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) making it even easier for the staff at Accommodation Unlimited to update content, enabling them to edit blog posts and heat maps themselves.
Other features added by Evergreen included an enhanced property search function, updates to the comment system and an improved contact form (making it more useful to businesses e.g. valuation request that has pre-filled in fields). More control of data capture was given by the inclusion of a 'Captcha’ form.
Introduction of a 'Hot Right Now' feature with heatmap linked to Google maps was a new feature implemented by Evergreen. It highlights which properties and areas are most popular within Bristol and the Greater Bristol region. By clicking on the heat map, landlords can also see the value of expected rental returns. Signposts with calls to action, including one for video content, were added with the latest video uploaded to the 'hot right now' page automatically appearing on the homepage.
The new website has still maintained a small area for tenants with a listing of properties, which synchronises with Accommodation Unlimited's in-house property management system, CFP.
“Working with Evergreen has been easy and simple”
So how is business different now that Evergreen have done the work? Peter reports that it is still too early to assess the full SEO impact that the new website has had as this takes time, but the feedback they have had from landlords has been ''overwhelming positive.'' The new website has had a much more measurable impact on social media activity, as Peter Ellis reports,”Everyday we send out tweets to companies outside London who may be looking to relocate staff to the Bristol area and we let them know 'what's hot'. We have seen a distinct increase in the numbers of retweets, favourites and mentions that we are getting on Twitter since the new website launch.”
So what has it been like working with Evergreen on this project? With plenty of time given to test the site before going live, Peter reports that there were no teething problems to speak of and any minor tweaks that were needed were sorted out by Evergreen immediately. Peter remarks that “as always, working with Evergreen has been easy and simple. They listened to our needs and requirements and then acted on them promptly. Even our re-brand consultant was impressed with Evergreen's quick response and efficiency and he must deal with many other companies in the same field!”
Peter Ellis concludes that he would without doubt recommend Evergreen to other businesses who are looking for not just a new website but one that fully integrates with their database software system. Why would he recommend them? ''With Evergreen whenever something needs doing it gets done, quickly and efficiently. Evergreen make websites that work, it's as simple as that!”