Marriott Support Services have been providing opportunities and promoting community inclusion for adults with disability since the 1970’s. Their belief is that the focus should be on ability rather than disability, offering their clients training, employment options and community services. They enable adults with disability to achieve their full potential in dynamic and integrated businesses by focusing on training, individual development and choices within a sustainable business model.
Marriott's old website no longer reflected the business's values, the people they serviced or their point of differentiation. They needed a new site that provided a vehicle to tell their story, had a fresh new look and importantly, had the functionality to simplify their processes and set them up for the future.
With the NDIS scheme set to change the way Australian disability services operate, General Manager Taimi Clinch believes that it’s more important than ever to be able to effectively support their existing clients online and get their message out to new audiences.
“The old site no longer reflected our audience and point of difference, and we needed a refreshed look, better usability and a strong customer perspective.” Marriott also required a site that accommodated great accessibility practices so that viewers with disability could easily navigate and consume the content on the site.
Furthermore, as a result of the NDIS Marriott may be forced to expand their workforce very quickly. Their old website had no means of attracting and harnessing potential employees that they could call on when needed in the future.
Look & Feel
The new Marriott website is fully responsive, meaning it automatically adjusts whether the viewer is using a desktop, tablet or mobile. This is vital today as more online traffic comes from mobile devices every day. The site has a clean design that reflects the colours and branding of Marriott Support Services, but most importantly incorporates the people they help. Authentic imagery and video is vital to any good website and helps personalise the offering. The homepage is able to aggregate much of the website functionality into one place, including an easily changeable feature campaign which Marriott use to drive their current fundraising efforts. At Symphony3 we believe that our clients should be able to manage and edit their own website content easily, and Marriott are able to update these campaigns themselves when required.
Storytelling & SEO
Marriott is an organisation that assists people. Therefore it's important that its website becomes a vehicle to share the stories and experiences of people. The Marriott blog is the platform for telling these stories; it is targeted to specific audiences and customer groups. Essential to the tool's success was a significant change in culture, which has made the blog content a key agenda item for meetings at all levels of the organisation. This creates a diverse body of stories, written by different individuals from throughout the organisation. ‘Calls to action’ are added to all blogs to guide readers on a journey through the Marriott site. While blogs are an important feature to engage audiences, regularly updated relevant content is also vital to high SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) performance. Once a site has been built with the correct SEO infrastructure, it is up to the client (and trusted advisers) to execute an effective content plan around the right topics to bring more traffic to the site from search engines - a key component of any site's performance. A look at the Marriott blog shows a series of recent stories from a range of topics about what the people at Marriott have been getting up to.
Facebook is now integrated with the Marriott website, adding another dimension of storytelling with its own audience. Taimi Clinch believes that Marriott’s Facebook community is very much about engaging their existing community and celebrating each others' successes. Furthermore, the ShareThis tool built onto the site allows users to easily share content onto other social platforms including email, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
The site has also become an effective internal communication tool. Many organisations are more effective at sharing their message with customers than their own employees. Marriott combat this by combining stories and content from their site into a regular newsletter that helps keep all of their employees in the loop with what’s been happening – creating a more unified culture. Given Marriott may need to boost their workforce very quickly, the new site includes a built-in form allowing applicants to join a ‘casual bank’, meaning they can go on a list to be contacted as soon as new casual workers are required.
Marriott now have a site that reflects their brand, has a strong personality and is equipped to drive their fundraising activities. Importantly, it has the infrastructure that will prepare them for the changes approaching the disability support industry.
Taimi has already noticed an increase in newsletter subscriptions, and with the help of a new resources section of the website she is confident that Marriott will become a "knowledge hub and opinion leader for everyone involved in the industry".