We worked closely with Carrier to develop a modular responsive, award winning website built on the Umbraco CMS that not only showcases the luxury holidays on offer but gets across the inside knowledge that only Carriers specialists have to create a bespoke, tailor-made holiday for every customer. The results speak for themselves with site conversion up 132% and online leads up by 86%.
Here’s how we did it.
Research & Discovery
As with any project, we start by gaining a deep understanding of the client, their customers, the project and it’s goals. Following a series of intensive discovery workshops with the project stakeholders, customer interviews, surveys and analytics analysis we defined a vision for the site and gained a deep understanding of who we were talking to and what their thought processes and emotions were when looking to book a holiday
To be found as and provide the best engaging online experience in the luxury travel market that ultimately drives a step change in direct business.
Strategy & User experience
Continuing on from the research phase we began to define the strategy for the site and devise the user journeys, information architecture, wireframes and technical specification for the website and Carrier’s wider digital space. This part of the process was also where our strategists and designers began to create innovative ways of delivering Carrier’s luxury, bespoke service online. In tandem with that the research allowed us design solutions around specific requests from customers such as the ability to find holidays depending on flight time. We use specific PET (persuasion, emotion and trust) techniques throughout the site in order to provide small nudges for users to take actions. Examples of this include using social proof by showing clients testimonials and stories to help sell to other customers. Features such as allowing users to create their own travel planner or comparison boards and take ownership of the content mean users stay engaged with the site and will keep returning during what is sometimes a long sales cycle.
The Creative Vision
Inspire, engage and evoke emotion. These were the three basic principles that provided the basis for our creative vision for the site. The site had to tell a story, fulfil dreams, exceed expectations and showcase the exceptional service whilst delivering the unique Carrier experience online. It needed to stand out in a crowded digital space. We wanted users to become immersed in long, content rich pages to take them on a journey of desire through the exquisite locations on offer.
The site is designed in a systematic, modular way with individual panels being designed around an underlying design language.
Our research showed that when choosing a holiday, users consider the look of the hotel or destination as the most important factor in decision making. Naturally then, our design focussed on putting imagery front and center, taking priority over text based content and conveying the experience through the images used. The typography is understated, stylish and distinctive in keeping with the Carrier brand. White space is used effectively to allow the content to breath and create a luxury feel. Traditional interface patterns remains familiar but with a modern twist, such as the use of offset columns of content and interesting cutout panels that pique users interest.
Innovation & Features
The site features a number of unique areas of innovation that ensure it stands out in the travel market. These include:
Where users can uncover insider tips about destinations and hotels. Here we’re bring the tacit knowledge of Carriers specialist agents online.
Borrowing a term from the fashion industry with which Carrier are closely aligned collections are specially curated types of holidays. Each collection is crafted by Carrier to meet the differing needs of users by showcasing life-enhancing and enriching experiences.
Carriers online lifestyle oriented magazine focussing on content that can’t be found elsewhere. The Edit encourages users to keep returning to the site and keeps the conversation with the customer going, something that traditional is very difficult for tour operators. Each article is beautifully crafted and editorially rich, which demonstrates Carriers brand ethos online.
Perhaps the most original and unique feature on the site, inspirations is an image based search filter allowing users to filter their hotel choices by selecting a range of criteria appropriate to them – the ambience of hotel they would like to stay at for example. A complex algorithm based on hotel tags then renders the results alongside a holiday moodboard for users to visualise what their holiday may be like. The moodboard can also be shared with friends. Inspirations is so successful it accounts for 8% of the total online enquiries.
The travel planner is available when a user creates an account and allows them to add destinations, hotels, itineraries, offers and inspirations in order to share with friends and family. It can then be sent on to Carrier to allow them to begin crafting a customers bespoke, tailored made holiday.
The travel planner was launched with engaging campaign entitled ‘Guestbook’ where users were encouraged to get on the guest list by creating an account and finding prizes hidden throughout the website. The campaign was so successful it increased site traffic by 1982% and page views by 3700%. Social sharing generated a further 7,500 referrals and helped Carrier increase their prospective clients by 38%.
The site is fully responsive and is built using HTML5 and CSS3 to ensure that using the site is a pleasurable, engaging experience no matter which device you’re viewing it on. Within days of launching it was CSS Design Awards Site of the Day.
The underlying technology is Microsoft .NET and uses the open-source Umbraco CMS. It is intuitive and easy-to-use. Integrations with AdInsight, Live Chat, Google Maps and Campaign Monitor are included to allow automation of tasks such as newsletter sign-ups and enquiry tracking. Weekly reports are sent automatically based on set criteria to allow Carrier to track site performance. A bespoke script was written to import content from several places including a product system and two legacy CMS systems. Tagging technology is used to power the inspirations results and assign hotels to specific collections. Offers are managed centrally and automatically pulled through to hotel pages.
The site is built in a modular, component based way that allows the homepage, landing pages and others to be given a fresh new look quickly and easily by adding, removing or re-ordering panels. Alternatively, Carrier can create unique, custom pages built using a series of these individually designed panels. This offers Carrier the ultimate in terms of flexibility without having to continually come to us for support.