A new hotel brand with an old soul

Graduate Hotels is a growing collection of eclectic hotels set in historic American college towns, inspired by a mid-century, academic aesthetic. They celebrate the youthful optimism of university life and cultivate a spirit that thoughtfully aligns each hotel within its local school’s narrative.

The Wallop team has been working with the parent company, AJCP, for the better part of a decade. We continue to lead digital design and technical implementation for Graduates growing collection of hotels.

2017 Silver W3 Award
Graduate hotel branded notebook and pencil on gold table in room with bold decor
Two double beds in a Graduate hotel room either side of a vintage cabinet and dial phone

The Challenge

Wallop the very first digital design system for the Graduate brand. Our website framework simplified the growth of their collection, allowing the personality of each property to be represented. Graduate would use our framework to great effect as the company continued to grow.

As the years passed and the properties came of age, its website gracefully approached the twilight of its life. Like a long-loved pair of university loafers, Graduate had finally outgrown its website.

In 2016, Wallop was again tasked with the revamp of Graduate web presence. The assignment was clear: bring the look and feel of Graduate into today’s mobile friendly, modern web.

Since launching, we work daily on building, testing optimizing the site to accommodate the growth of the business as it expands internationally.

Photo of a Graduate hotel lobby from above

The Results

We went back to the drawing board and pivoted from our initial strategy of individual, standalone websites to a single parent website with child properties. It was a large undertaking, not without its challenges.

Skeuomorphic design was a prominent feature in the brand’s visual language. To keep with the times we stripped away the old textural, textbook feel in favour of a breathable, dynamic aesthetic. Content areas were paired down to only essential information and coupled with unique, interactive structures.

A focus on the new breadth of the collection now allows users to effortlessly move between each property. On top of it all, a muscular mobile experience allows it all to happen on the go.

While this was a very heavy website, speed was at the top of our list of priorities. Consequently, we implemented a series of technical enhancements to improve loading speeds. As a result, the website earned high marks for speed and optimization and provided a boost to the digital marketing strategy.

Our relationship with Graduate Hotels continues to grow, and we work alongside the team to support its extraordinary growth and expansion into new markets.

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