Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
I can't give any metrics because we just opened an entirely new brand. We've been operating for 9 months now and it’s a big task on so many levels. IdeaWork was able to create a quality product at a faster timeline because of the resources they have. They are such a competent company that they could easily make this work and get us where we needed to be.
Our brand targets the 35 to 50 market. Our customers have disposable income, like to travel, and are looking for a boutique experience. We get many of those people. What's interesting is that the feedback about the website is coming from an even younger crowd. These are the kids of the 50-year-olds—in their teens or twenties—saying, “I want to go stay there.”
We've had people come to the hotel because they say the website looks so cool. That is really neat because it drives them to our Instagram page. They look at that and go, “Wow, your imagery is amazing. It looks like a really cool hotel.” That then gets them to say, “Mom, dad I want to go stay here.” Then their parents say, “We've stayed here because our kids love your website. They loved all the imagery and all sort of stuff.” Our other clientele doesn't really give a lot of feedback about it because they don't think in that sense most of the time.
How did IdeaWork perform from a project management standpoint?
I thought they did very well. They were pretty easy to get a hold of and were there for support. Being the owner, I'm involved in about 70% of the conversations. Our creative director drove the whole process and I think he was very happy with IdeaWork’s communication. The updates that I saw were pretty thorough. To be able to get it done on time, we had a tighter timeline than usual. Typically, it takes a good 5 to 7 months, or even longer, to get this type of site developed. We started from the ground floor. It wasn't like they came in and built on stuff that we had. I think we got it done within about 4 1/2.
What did you find most impressive about IdeaWork?
Overall, the experience was positive. I usually work with smaller developers so, obviously, it’s better to work with someone a bit larger and more sophisticated. Given the parameters that we had, it was a good back and forth.
There are some design things that, creatively, we wanted to add that they felt were really not right. This isn't a negative comment; it's always interesting to work together with a lot of creative minds. You respect it when they say, “Look, I'm also helping design this. When you look at the overall picture, I'm trying to guide you. This is going to be a lot better in the long run, even though you might think you want this type of thing.” Creatively, it is important to have people that aren't just doing things for you. Things can get lost with too many hands in the pot.
I think they did a really good job of saying, “We can do this; I don't think you really want to do that. Let's wait on doing that so that you can sit with it for a while.” There was an interesting creative dynamic. They listen to you but at the same time, they also take the needed creative control. When you're in charge of a project, you're in charge of that entire piece of that project. To me, it's not a negative; it was a good way to get honest feedback. If we felt like we were going in the wrong direction, I knew that they would tell us that. That was good.
Are there any areas IdeaWork could improve?
There was probably one aspect of the website where we had some miscommunication. Again, that's one of those things where it was a new relationship. You go, “Okay, I thought it was going to be this or that,” and it didn't really work out to anyone's liking. I think that's a working relationship and getting to know each other issue. Everything else was great. I thought a lot of stuff that they did was good. It's always about expectations, I think. My expectations weren’t super high. We just needed to get this site up and it needed to look good. They answered those expectations and we're happy with the result. In the next few years, we'll look at that website and keep making it better.