Responses by Antyra Solutions.
Background: Tales of Ceylon was created by Antyra Solutions as a response to challenges we feel most travel and hospitality brands face in emerging markets, such as Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Rupees don’t translate too well to US dollars, and most local brands don’t have the budgets for top-of-the-funnel marketing. Further complicating this landscape is the amount of “noise” online: more than 400 million posts on Instagram hash-tagged travel and millions of websites promoting myriad travel options, among others.
In this context, we began to feel everything related to tourism started to blur together. Half of Asia boasts beautiful beaches, rich wildlife and diverse cuisine—the hallmarks of Sri Lanka’s traditional tourism promotion. In this environment, how could we make Sri Lanka as a destination stand above this clutter and target potential travelers at the inspiration stage of travel? Buying cycle across our key source markets—the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and India—was the task that we set ourselves, without the luxury of having millions to spend in advertising.
To do so, we looked inward. A land blessed with many natural wonders, Sri Lanka also has a documented history spanning over two millennia. As Sri Lankans, we are brought up on stories of heroic kings, epic battles and amazing feats of engineering. “Tales of Ceylon” was designed to tell these stories with the hope of creating an emotional connection to the destination—a desire to experience this heritage oneself. The website is our primary engagement platform with a 360-degree marketing campaign across a multitude of media, such as animated videos, imaginative illustrations and engaging content worthy of sharing.
Design core: The site connects the dots for visitors. Destination-specific tales will introduce you to a specific location, which then connects to what you can see and do from related attractions to nearby hotels. Extensively researched “tales,” rich illustrations, in-depth content and full-fold images were all used to create the feel of a luxury magazine—more so than a typical travel website.
Challenges: We were worried that if we got a minor detail wrong in the accepted historical narrative of the country, it may lead to conversations that distracted from the site’s purpose as a travel guide. As such, we spent a considerable amount of time on conducting research and validating information with two editors working in tandem to review each tale.
Navigation structure: We researched navigation options quite extensively. Each page was created as an entry point for potential engagement with SEO considered a priority. The site features both a functional, megamenu navigation for finding your location of choice and booking a hotel—for example—to a more waterfall or drill-down approach through layered landing pages.
Technology: The site is built on WordPress with Antyra’s proprietary component structure layered on top. PHP, jQuery and Bootstrap were used in development. The designs were done in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects.