William Reed Product 2

William Reed

Team Excellence Awards
Product Development Team of the Year

The Product Development team at William Reed is committed to expanding and improving the sites in terms of design, UX, development and integration. Recently a core team of four, was assigned to the World’s 50 Best brand and their role has been invaluable in building communities and expanding the World’s 50 Best estate. On top of this, through the great use of

technology and data, the team is helping with the company mission of converting visitors from unknown to known. Not only has editorial benefitted in terms of better ways of delivering content, but commercial opportunities have also arisen.

William Reed’s company mission is to attract more readers and convert flyby visitors to registered loyalists. Across the 50 Best portfolio, the lack of registration wall and newsletters meant little audience knowledge, making it hard to tailor content and deliver targeted campaigns. Alongside this challenge, providing content on the best bars, restaurants, and hotels in the world and producing good-looking sites is key to appealing to this exclusive audience. This creates lots of design and UX pressures, especially when competing with huge sites like Conde Nast Traveller and Michelin Guide.

No easy feat with a small team and while trying to reduce digital carbon footprint.

The World’s 50 Best newsletter was created in May 2023 and was key with converting visitors from unknown users to known users. The newsletter has huge engagement, with a 60% open rate, which in turn has built a global community. It also adds another revenue stream for the business.

A further development which is due to be imminently released is a preference centre with an access and entitlement solution. This is the next step to obtain data about who is accessing the site and their key interests and behaviour. The preference centre design will provide a seamless and engaging user experience as well as allowing users to favourite the bars, restaurants, and hotels they like the look of.

The platform on which the World’s 50 Best sites have been built, Webpuzzle, has been developed with a template-based process which enables the development team to spin up a new regional site within a matter of weeks. For example, 50 Best Hotels went live in January 2023 and within a few months was seeing over 173k monthly users. The team also continually review the technical estate to ensure the sites have a sustainable first approach, as well as optimising and streamlining the code, images and plugins.

Additionally, to provide the best UX, the team has developed and integrated Adobe Analytics to become data first and in turn provide the content team with great insights to help with the content strategy as well as commercial opportunities. Currently there are over 100 user data points.

“The development team always aim to understand our brand and commercial objectives, and utilise their knowledge, insights, and understanding to support us in delivering effective solutions across our platforms,” shared Jo Wattar, 50 Best Digital Manager.

And you can see this in the results.

There are over 8.8 million monthly users across the 50 Best Estate, with more than 3.5 million social media followers and over 22k newsletter subribers already.

New development on Discovery has seen a growth for 50 Best, with a 60% increase in users and page views YoY. Revenue in 2023 increased 79% YoY across the 50 Best Estate, with 90% of revenue coming from content partnerships, with an average order value over £70k.

The 50 Best Estate last year saw a 35% increase in page views, 48% increase in sessions, and 56% increase in users. On top of this, the average session duration increased 106%, with bounce rates decreasing by 23%. The template-based process also means that creating new websites now takes a matter or weeks rather than months.

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