The Opportunity

HeadlessArchitectureIn Action

The Opportunity

Since  1777,  Hall & Woodhouse has established their position as a front-runner within the drinks and hospitality industries. Starting with a dream to make a living out of beer, the family-run pub brand has expanded its reach, incorporating all-day dining and overnight stays at its historic pubs and hotels.

The Duchess of Cornwall Inn in Poundbury, Dorset is a crowning jewel of the Hall & Woodhouse family. It stands proudly as a handsome three-storey gastropub teeming with character, historic paintings, and a friendly team. It was no surprise that this stunning venue was chosen as the first website to be updated with Hall & Woodhouse’s new headless website template.

ClientHall & Woohouse
ServiceHeadless Architecture
****Aims & Objectives****

Aims & Objectives

With the existing website template for The Duchess reaching the five-year mark, the Hall & Woodhouse digital team were aware it needed a refresh and that its web traffic was in decline, particularly in comparison to the wider estate. 

With these objectives in mind, we are proud to reveal we have grown web traffic by 17% and online bookings by 38%. Read on to find out how…

Headless Architecture

We built this site as a template framework, developing it with headless architecture. Headless functionality increases site speed, and conversion rates and enhances the user experience. Headless architecture now powers the sites of 13 of Hall & Woodhouse’s flagship, destination venues which are key revenue drivers for the estate.

Improving the Mobile Journey

Core Web Vitals site speed tests revealed that The Duchess’ website was not performing to the best of its potential on mobile. With over 70% of traffic coming from phones, the mobile journey needed reviewing to ensure the customer journey was a streamlined operation, boosting the experience for The Duchess’ new and returning guests.

****Research & Planning****

Research & Planning

SEO & discovery

We conducted keyword research to create batches of keywords that applied across The Duchess’ website. These keywords were then incorporated into the content, SEO titles and meta descriptions- resulting in the Duchess ranking in the top 3 positions for “Poundbury Hotel” and “Poundbury Restaurant” as opposed to the top 10 in previous months. 

Sitemap planning

When building the sitemap, Hall & Woodhouse wanted to keep the navigation clean and simple, combining the ‘Drink’ and ‘Dine’ pages on the previous site into one page, ‘Menus’. 

To allow the stunning new website the opportunity to change with the time of year, we created seasonal campaign pages that are flexible throughout the year, highlighting upcoming events at this beautiful venue.

The User Journey

In our discovery phase, we wanted to map the journeys of guests who landed on The Duchess’ website. All-day dining is a shining feature of the inviting venue. To showcase this, we needed to understand the journey of different demographics, with a focus on those who arrive at the website searching for different menus or areas.

Alt Device Image
Alt Device Image
Alt Device Image
Alt Device Image
****Design Methodology****

Design Methodology

Not wanting to box themselves into designs already created in the past, we worked with Hall & Woodhouse to create a timeless and vibrant design to stand the test of time. 

To achieve this, we built a component-driven design to allow their team the ultimate flexibility to change the layouts and colours across the site as things change within this particular segment of pubs. We chose brighter, more vibrant colours, utilising white space to evoke a welcoming feel.

A Personal Touch

To add a touch of playfulness, we incorporated sketch-style illustrations across the site to help guests understand what was on offer. These ranged from cocktail illustrations to bites to eat such as burgers which helps sell the experience. For menus, we also used a mono-weight font for the body copy to make it look printed, bringing the rustic feel of The Duchess into the website.

Story-driven Content

Allowing The Duchess to share its unique history was crucial in the design process. We created more flexible regions to allow the team to showcase the unique charm of the historic gastropub. The Our Venue page was built as a local area region, granting the pub’s team the ability to tie The Duchess into the surrounding countryside and towns.

****Part of Hall & Woodhouse****

Part of Hall & Woodhouse

Being part of a larger chain, it was important that we featured The Duchess’ connection to other Hall & Woodhouse venues. We did this via a ‘Sister venue’ region to cross-promote nearby venues. An ‘Our venues’ page also specifically calls out other pubs within the Town House sector, establishing these pubs as their own unique and special offering. 

In summary

Headless architecture was chosen as the best solution for Hall & Woodhouse’s website updates because they wanted to create an advanced user experience across multiple digital platforms. 

At Propeller, we are a web development agency pioneering the use of Headless CMS. To chat about how we can help make your digital channels easier to manage, faster to load, and more secure with a Headless CMS, get in touch.

The Results




organic traffic