McMenamins: Stress-Free Event Space Matchmaking
Located in the Pacific Northwest, McMenamins is a chain of brewpubs, microbreweries, music venues, historic hotels, and theater pubs. Their web application includes everything from food menus to hotel reservations, event listings to movie tickets. With 53 properties in Oregon and Washington and unique venue choices at those locations, ranging from a library at a former elementary school to an outdoor amphitheater at a remodeled old church, hosting events is an important part of their business offerings. But utilizing their online request form was a challenge for users, and the site lacked room for inspiration and exploration.
As our team reviewed the site and user workflow, we realized that the pages relied only on a side navigation that assumed a user knew exactly what property they wanted, and allowed little room for exploration. Rather than force the user to choose one property at a time, we wanted to open the door to all of them. But we needed to know: What information do users need, how are they making their decisions, and what would help them achieve those goals? After finding out the answers, we approached McMenamins with a simple three tier platform. First, the “Host an Event” homepage would be a starting point with quick links. From there the user could indicate the type of event they would like to have (a wedding, for example, an attribute that would most likely not change ) and be transported to a page where they could browse properties by region and amenities. The third tier would provide more details on a property and its venues.
By approaching the project goals as more than updating the “look and feel,” our team was also able to address the user’s goals. Keeping their needs at the forefront helped us to identify the right content, structure and layout, and then connect a new a visual design to elevate and complement that functionality. With designs in place, we also developed a new content management system (CMS) that would power these pages, giving McMenamin's staff flexibility to update content and imagery. This new workflow gave them a chance to showcase all of their properties at once, and include property-specific photography and content targeted to the needs of the user. It also helped their sales team be more efficient, as people started calling and emailing with specific properties and venues in mind.