Sonesta Hotels & Resorts - A Brand New Website for a Rapidly Growing Hotel Brand Introduction
Sonesta Hotels & Resorts is a well-known hotel brand in the United States, with a rich heritage of iconic hotels throughout the country. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard, but Sonesta was able to add over 200 properties previously under various brands, and in January 2021, the brand acquired Red Lion Group, further expanding its portfolio. With the growing number of properties, improving site performance for users and search engine optimization (SEO) became a crucial business priority. However, the existing website was built on Drupal 7, which was approaching its end of life. This case study describes how Sonesta worked with Desarol to build a new website using Gatsby, a modern web technology, to meet their business needs.
The Website Refresh Begins
Desarol recommended using a headless architecture to support the new website and the growing number of hotel locations. However, the team faced two major challenges: supporting spikes in traffic and migrating from Drupal 7 to a new frontend. To address these challenges, the team opted for a Gatsby + Drupal stack, which provided support for React, a modern web technology, and built-in Drupal integration. With this new stack, the team was able to improve site performance, simplify site maintenance, and make SEO optimization easier.
Sonesta’s Team Turns To Gatsby
Gatsby's Jamstack architecture, support for React, and built-in Drupal integration made it the clear choice for Sonesta. Gatsby compiles the entire website into a simple directory of static assets, which can be served through a content delivery network (CDN), resulting in predictable and cost-effective availability for practically unlimited amounts of traffic. With the switch to Gatsby, the team could add features to most sections of the new website without needing to work in Drupal, increasing the team’s flexibility and efficiency.
The Team Nails Down Workflows And Deployment
The team had to adopt content workflows, internationalization, deployment, hosting, and so on, to the new stack. Sonesta made the choice to turn to Gatsby Cloud for both builds and an enterprise-grade CDN. With Gatsby Cloud, the Sonesta web team could spin up as many microsites as needed and support newly acquired restaurants and larger hotels while only paying for bandwidth. The new website was able to handle hundreds of thousands of visitors and tens of terabytes of bandwidth every month, proving that the new stack was highly scalable and cost-effective.
The New Sonesta.com Launches
The team launched the new Sonesta.com in March 2021, which was a significant success. The new website showcased hundreds of hotels and resorts across the United States, giving customers a better view of what Sonesta had to offer. The new homepage gallery showcased the natural beauty of palm trees and beaches of San Juan, the stylish convenience of a common area in a Chicago hotel, the fresh air of an outdoor pool in Orlando, and the convenience of airport-adjacent suites in Cleveland. The new website showcased possibilities for escape, which was something customers were eager for as the country slowly returned to normalcy.
Sonesta Hotels & Resorts successfully migrated from Drupal 7 to a modern web technology stack to improve site performance, simplify site maintenance, and make SEO optimization easier. The team was able to adopt new workflows and deployment processes, which allowed them to handle hundreds of thousands of visitors and tens of terabytes of bandwidth every month. The new website showcased hundreds of hotels and resorts across the United States, providing customers with a better view of what Sonesta had to offer. Sonesta's migration to Gatsby demonstrated the brand's commitment to providing customers with a better user experience and showcasing the brand's.