Arniston House

Celebrating the old, welcoming the new.

500% increase in enquiries

Arniston Estate is a 6,000 acre, working estate set just outside of Edinburgh. It has been home to the Dundas family since 1571, and the family still own and live in the house today. The family graciously open up their home to the public all year round offering, visitor tours, cottage stays, activities and weddings. With such a busy working estate, Arniston needed a website that was capable of handling large volumes of traffic, a booking system, social media integration and reflected the elegance and heritage of this family home. Arniston came to us for a full redesign and redevelopment of their existing site.

Design

Arniston came to us with a very loose set of brand guidelines, a huge amount of history and a family crest. We wanted to promote their elegance, their warm/welcoming nature and for their end users to experience ‘a living history.’

We achieved this by, first, firming up their brand guidelines – we selected a warm, earthy colour palette, inspired by the gorgeous countryside which surrounds the estate. We chose an elegant, serif typeface and an easy to read body typeface, both of which could be used across a variety of different languages, including Mandarin, something which there was an increasing demand for from their users. We also provided a suite of textures that could be used for any print or digital products now, or in the future. One of these textures was featured heavily across the site, a lime green illustrative image of trees and birds. This was a bespoke image, created from photographs of the hand-painted wallpaper hung in the Garden Room.

User experience wise, we kept things clean and easy to use. As the majority of their end users are slightly older, we wanted minimal distractions from interactivity and animations. We promoted the most commonly sought after information “Opening Times, Buy Tickets, Tours, etc” at the top of the landing page, and encouraged users to dip in and out of additional content and further reading about Arniston House.

Development

The wedding enquiry form was central to the success of this project. Previously, booking your wedding at Arniston was a fairly manual process involving phonecalls and emails. All of which can lead to missed opportunities for the owners and poor experiences for brides-to-be. Revamping the enquiry process was something we took time to speak to Arniston about, figure out what information they required initially, and what information could wait until later. We quickly established that there were a few simple key questions we could ask which would give the Arniston team a clearer idea of the size of the wedding, what special requirements there were and most importantly, what dates the person was looking for. Arniston only open their grounds to a set number of weddings every year, making them more exclusive, but also making the dates hotly contested!

Finally, we overhauled the booking system used to reserve accommodation at Arniston. The site still uses SuperControl as it’s booking engine, but the property pages were given a fantastic visual overhaul, showcasing the standard of stay you can expect. We also customised the booking engine pages as much as we could, bringing them inline with the Arniston brand.

Results

Since launching the Arniston website in July (2019) they have received 120 enquiries through the wedding contact form, representing a 500% increase in wedding enquiries.