Joie de Vivre Hotels: A Website, A Brand, And A Uniquely “California” Experience


IMA: 2007 Best in Class Winner for Hospitality

2007 Adrian Awards: Winner in both Overall Website and Social Marketing categories

eMarketer of the Year: 2007 Finalist

WebAward: 2008 Outstanding Achievement in Website Development Winner in the Hotel and Lodging Category

IMA: Outstanding Achievement in Travel and Tourism

Well, you did it. Let’s sit for a moment and bask in the glory of a truly terrific hotel website. As you know, I have high standards and don’t hold back my opinions, but when you’ve hit the ball out of the park, I also want to give you the praise you deserve. All of us at JDV are very proud of what you’ve helped us create... You’ve done a phenomenal job and I’d like to spread that news to others. Chip Conley, Founder & CEO, Joie de Vivre Hospitality

Joie de Vivre fits so well in California precisely because they are not a one-size-fits-all hotel company. They celebrate the diversity of California, the diversity of individuals, and the diversity of life through their unique properties. And they needed a website to both reflect and enable that approach in its design and its functionality.

The resulting site builds on Joie de Vivre’s unique brand characteristics – an emphasis on boutique properties that match individual tastes, with an appreciation for the multitude of experiences possible in the nation’s most populous state.

California experience is at the heart of the site, and the heart of the Joie de Vivre brand. Joie de Vivre’s California presence takes center stage in an almost-theatrical presentation beginning with the homepage “Welcome to California” message. Two inventive website features in particular – Hotel Matchmaker and Your California – help ensure visitors to the site, and visitors to the state, have their ideal experience.

Hotel Matchmaker comes to online life in the person of an avatar named Yvette. Through a series of Flash-based filters, Yvette pairs visitors with a property that reflects their own tastes. The filters include more standard search criteria, like price and location, as well as truly unique search methods, such as an intuitive series of personality-based questions that draw parallels between choosing a hotel and choosing a friend. The result is perhaps the most personal approach to selecting a place to stay than can be found anywhere on the web.

The Your California section offers content and tools that go far beyond the typical hotel website mandate to sell rooms and takes on the larger challenge of ensuring a superlative overall California experience. Joy of Life Guides provide insights into specific destinations and activities, Neighborhoods takes visitors deep into signature areas, California Connect creates a dynamic online community where visitors can share thoughts on destinations and activities, and an Experience Planner tool allows visitors to view and assemble their own custom itinerary. The Experience Planner, in particular, provides an integrated tool that is unique among hotel websites – visitors can review lists of potential activities, select them, add to a list, and print them to take along, all without leaving the site.

The net result is a site, and related outreach programs, that do more than just sell rooms – although they do that well, too. It’s about making sure that visitors to California – and to the site – have an overall experience that’s great by their own standards.