I've been indirectly involved with lodging industry for about 20 years. I've been doing websites since 1994 but haven't done a lot recently because of the limited design options in standard frameworks such as wordpress. These kind of sites are somewhat easy to maintain, but lack an esthetic soul in my opinion. I was trained in the zero-base school of design, where the designer brings as few assumptions about what the client needs as possible. Part of zero-base design is to get to know the client and the client's business on a very granular level, and then use one's design skills to help that business communicate its messages as elegantly and seemlessly as possible. Prebuilt frameworks and templates make the the client adapt their messages to work in that framework or template and many times the client's business message becomes watered down or muddled.
When doing the design brief for the site, it was decided that it was important that this new site for Meadowlark tell its story in way that was clear, engaging and inviting. I made everything about the interface to be as uncluttered and simple as possible, yet still answer anyone's questions with pictures and text before they ask them.
In keeping with the simplicity directive, I also decided that (unlike most every other lodging site on the Internet) it would not be screaming "book now!" at every available opportunity. I wanted to let the site do all the talking, with plenty of easy access steps to the booking engine.
I spent over 9 months taking photographs and working with photographers in order to capture the real essences of such a rich property as Meadowlark. We combed through 2,000+ photographs and selected the best ones that captured the spirit of the property through all seasons (as good as we think the job we did is, there is nothing like actually staying here. We encourage you to visit us next time you're in the beautiful Napa Valley just to take a look).
Concurrent with the photography, I did a lot of research about online booking engines, revenue management, channel management, and OTA's (Online Travel Agencies, you know, like Expedia). We started with a relatively simple one just to get the ball going (webervations/resovations), and finally ended up with SiteMinder/RDX because incorporated my requirements for highest level PCI compliance, guest security, easy managment interface, channel management, support, and reasonable cost. My expertise in database format conversions made this transition relatively painless.
I wove all the aboe together with extensive keywording, descriptions, and integrated text that kept the web spiders happy and made it easy to find Meadowlark Country House and Resort on the web. I believe that the result achieved with the site is unique among lodging sites, incorporating old-world hospitality and charm with modern esthetics and ease of use.
Brian Scott has been doing architectural photography for lots of realtors in the east and south bay area, until he and his wife stayed here. The outcome was enlisting his talents for many of the beautiful pictures on this site.
One of the hosts of Meadowlark Country House and Resort, Mr. Stevens constant attention to detail and perfectionism was a driving force in the production of this website.
Copyright © 2000, Meadowlark Country House (www.meadowlarkinn.com). All rights reserved.
Meadowlark Country House and Resort
601 Petrified Forest Road
Calistoga, CA 94515