Revitalising Aman’s digital properties to match the marque’s rarefied luxury experience



The Challenge

Aman has been redefining the standard of luxury hospitality for over three decades, combining storied architecture, quietly luxurious design and coveted seclusion in destinations the world over. Founded by Adrian Zecha in 1988, his first resort — Amanpuri in Thailand — was originally a private second home, to be enjoyed by Zecha’s loved ones. Since then, the collection has expanded to embrace 35 sanctuaries and counting across 20 countries and 4 continents. 

From Marrakech and the Caribbean to Venice and New York, Aman’s portfolio of properties have collectively come to represent a remarkable experience for the discerning traveller; one that’s “discreet, expansive, and intimate, with a full-bodied approach to wellness and an almost chameleon-like ability to adapt to the surrounding landscape.”

With lots happening – including a change in management and a phase of rapid expansion – Aman engaged Matter Of Form in 2014 to devise a global digital transformation for all of its properties as the first chapter in their overarching redevelopment plan.

A Meticulous Balance

In this period of significant change, it was vital to protect the brand equity of the group. Aman loyalists (unofficially referred to as “Amanjunkies”) are ferociously protective of a set of properties they consider a hidden gem. There was a delicate balance to be achieved between modernising an ageing brand and safeguarding its timeless charm. This tension was our greatest challenge. 

To kick off, we began by outlining the five stages of luxury travel and, using our Brand Interactions™ framework, created a high-level set of experience maps for Aman’s various target audiences. Through this process Matter Of Form not only gained critical insight into the core web experience we were to build, but identified several other opportunities for innovation and category differentiation which were proposed to the brand.

Keeping the meticulous balance between heritage conservation and future-proofing front of mind during design sprints was vital to the success of the digital transformation. We were radically changing the design language and technology platforms across the entire organisation whilst protecting immensely valuable brand equity. 

Leaning Into Nuance

Aman is one of the only resort brands that can confidently lead with very nuanced details that only a discerning eye notices, rather than the wide vista shots many renowned hospitality brands tend to lead with. This insight powered our strategic platform ‘The Destination Is In The Detail’ and became the foundation of both our design and content work throughout our seven-year partnership.

To help the business become more commercially savvy, we implemented booking engines where there had been none; unified look and feel across an organisation that had wildly inconsistent marketing; repurposed imagery across a sprawling asset library; and refactored reems of content based on a huge volume of literature that varied from property to property.

We introduced a few firsts for the industry at the time of launch, including now-essentials modules designed to help prospective guests effectively picture themselves on their stay. We built in geolocation so imagery changed based on the time of day it was for the user and crafted an app experience to bolster the experience – from discovery to post-visit – further. 

We globally launched 27 new centrally-managed sites in 6 languages, including specific permeations for Japan and China (complete with bespoke workarounds for each region). Our team provided 24/7 support throughout the launch period, and delivered a series of increasingly-optimised iterations post-launch alongside our ongoing content work with Aman in line with their truly global ambitions.