This is part 3 of a 3 part series in which acclaimed resort website designer Joe Myers answers the question that many resorts face every single year: Ok, our resort marketing team has decided its time for our website to be redesigned. Now what? What can I do NOW to make the process with the designers and developers?” To learn more about Joe, go back and read the first part of the series.
STEP 3: Write up your requirements and be ready to go
Write a detailed RFP
You may not need a perfectly professional “Request for Proposals”. But to be fair to different candidates you need to lay out all your expectations so they can write proposals from the same basic expectations. Then be prepared for a variety of responses, as different companies treat proposals in different ways.
- State all prerequisites for technology, functionality, and deliverables.
- Explain your goals for the site, including primary calls to action, SEO goals, affect on bottom line objectives, attracting new customers, and shifts in user patterns.
- State all desired functionality, especially custom modules or functionality that do not currently exist on your site.
- Specify how much control you would like to have over content in order to make your daily updates.
- Outline as best you can the intended scope of the site. How many pages? Is the mobile site included? How’bout the summer site? Is SEO part of the deal?
- Tell the candidates what is expected of them. Site visits? Weekly calls? Timelines? Nights or weekends? Time-zone accommodation?
- Identify the key decision makers (executives, board, brand managers, etc.)
- Identify who will be the main point of contact on your side. I recommend a single person with decision-level authority and good project management skills.
- State how you intend to proceed with maintanance once the site is launched.
- Set a REASONABLE timeline. Everyone wants their new site now. But keep in mind it may take a month to hammer out a contract, a month for discovery and site visits, a month or two for creative concepts and database/hosting preparation, two months for custom development, and a month for content import and quality assurance. Give or take some overlap and you should DEFINITELY get started in March or April for a solid October launch. So… you’re already behind. Surely, it can be done faster (I’ve helped turn major resort sites around in 2 months) but you may not be happy with the results, and a compressed timeline can increase the costs.
- Know (but maybe don’t disclose) your budget. Make sure you’re talking to the right players in the first place.
When the project starts, you should be ready to hand over some building materials. Make sure you can deliver at least the following:
- Vector logos (.eps or .ai)
- Custom artwork you may want to use, like illustrations or sub-branding logos for ski school or facilities
- Brand guidelines if available
- Corporate fonts
- Exact color swatches (Pantone, RGB, CMYK or Hexidecimal) if there’s more than just your logo colors
- Photos! Designers want lots of gorgeous, high-resolution digital images. Not slides. And we want images that represent all major aspects of your brand: skiing/action (groomed, powder, kids); ski school/kids; scenic; facility shots; food & beverage, lodging, lifestyle, and lots of smiling faces.
- Stats: Hand over your site analytics and any guest surveys you may have
- Passwords: Your team will need FTP and database access with read/write permissions to do the job. Find it.
A site redesign is exciting. With enough preparation, you can make the process work more smoothly and effectively. By including the right parties, you can gain more advocacy and increase confidence in the bottom line. And by researching the technology behind the scenes, you can make more educated decisions about where to focus your efforts. And if you’re still having trouble, look me up (@joeartdotcom.