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Redesigning Luxury: John Di Rienzo of Exotic Estates

April 2nd, 2015 8:00 am

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John Di Rienzo is the Director of Marketing at Exotic Estates, a global luxury vacation rental agency that creates unforgettable vacation experiences for travelers and is a valued partner to estate owners. The Glue teamed up with Exotic Estates to recreate their brand and design a new responsive site that showcased their one-of-a-kind estates and service.

How did you know it was time for a website redesign?

There were several reasons. Perhaps the most important was the lack of responsiveness. Our clientele, like those of most businesses today, use mobile to search and shop, and a website that does not provide a good mobile user experience will be quickly abandoned. In addition, the old website had a graphically dated feel and did not make effective use of our content; we are an image driven business so we needed a highly visual user experience. There were also certain features and simple layout issues that broke up content poorly. Finally, there were certain technical limitations with the old website that did not allow us to track conversion metrics as robustly as we would like.

 

What did you look for in an agency when partnering on the site redesign?

We needed an agency that had a firm grasp of the digital space and could take our ideas and build upon them, bringing technical and design insights to the process. Of course, we also wanted killer graphic design talent. Finally, we needed a team that was nimble and able to turn work around in a fairly tight time frame – we found all of these things in The Glue! 

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What were your major goals for the redesign and were they achieved?

Our primary goal was to offer a highly functional and beautiful user experience across devices. Also, we wanted a unique, clean look that made the most out of our gorgeous property and destination images and organized detailed content into easy to digest packets of information. In the end, the website needed to be a stunning balance between imagery and copy. All of these goals were achieved. 

 

What is your favorite part of the new site?

I love the visual design of home page and the property detail pages. They really create a powerful visual experience that draws you in and makes you want to learn more. That’s really the key when working in luxury. The website needed to be seductively visual to appeal to potential travelers looking for their ideal luxury vacation rental property.

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If budget and time were limitless, what would you do next, in terms of marketing Exotic Estates?

TV campaigns in our major markets. When it’s freezing outside and winter is far from over, seeing a stunning luxury vacation home on your TV with an infinity pool and sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean is pretty motivating.  I think that we would do very well with spots run during the prime booking periods in our key markets.

 

What do you see as the future of travel in light of the growth of services like Airbnb?

I think that we will continue to see the popularity of vacation rentals grow in all market segments. Exotic Estates operates in the luxury segment, which for now, has not been the focus of the large vacation rental websites like Airbnb for a variety of logistical reasons. In the near future, I imagine that these larger players will push to capture a share of the higher-end of the market. Due to the proliferation of vacation rentals, we will also see the implementation of local legislation that will impact how and where they are allowed to operate.

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What has been your favorite trip so far?

That’s a tough one, because something stands out from all of my trips. However, I really enjoyed my trip to Fiji a few years ago. I didn’t stay in a large resort and found a strong culture, extremely welcoming people and great surfing and ocean scenery.  However, as a destination, Hawaii is still my favorite place on earth.

 

What is your dream vacation?

I would love to take a two-three month tour of the South Pacific islands and Australia.  I have a fascination for that part of the world and think it would be awesome to unhurriedly hopscotch across the Pacific, spending time in different island nations, finally ending up in Australia. I met some travelers in Fiji who took a year off to sail the South Pacific and they described sailing into Nuku Hiva’s harbor in the Marquesas Islands after a rain, with waterfalls cascading down the hills on the side of the harbor. I have not been able to get that visual out of my mind and would love to see it in person someday.

 

Everyone’s most burning question, do you get to stay at the Exotic Estates for free?

Lol! No, unfortunately I do not. But the owner of Exotic Estates has one of the best houses in Hawaii, and I’ve been fortunate to be invited to stay as a guest… to get work done of course.

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