Following on from the exciting and challenging project to rebuild Olympic Holidays search and booking systems from scratch, Olympic Holidays and Offroadcode always planned to move onto the next big step - to redesign and rebuild their website from the ground up to build on that great work.
Because of the scale of the booking engine project, we agreed nearly 2 years ago that we'd focus on that first and lay the foundations for improved code, broad design guidelines and styles and following the launch would move onto the update of the website.
Much like the search and booking system, the old website was slow, poorly developed and barely responsive and when combined with an ancient custom CMS and several years of content that had never really been audited and organised it was slow, cluttered and from initial user tests and feedback - uninspiring.
With so much to do and a short timeline in which to work, we continued the approach we took with the booking system project. Quick, agile sprints were the order of the day
Following a range of user tests and surveys we'd already performed (to outline our goals above) we were able to quickly move to sketching out the structure and components that would begin to form the basis of the updated website.
Our goal for many pages was to swap their focus from being big, tiring to read text heavy pages that sometimes read more like a dry and ultimately uninspiring Wikipedia entry than an inspiring holiday destination.
Instead, we needed to make them into constantly evolving and easy to digest pages that the Olympic team could customise quickly and to suit offers, customer needs and much more.
Splitting the website into key areas we were able to allow for content to be created in a single location and then be usable on any page on the website. This global content was combined with more specific destination content to create a mix of landing pages and more detailed pages about a region or resort.
Now more than ever, responsive design makes sense - in particular for travel companies where the typical customer will be spending thousands of pounds and will spread their research and booking across multiple devices.
We've built our share of responsive sites over the years but as screens get bigger, resolutions increase and people want more and more images it's important to remain true to the principles that the web is based on and that's still making a website that's as fast as possible, optimises as much as you can and delivers the core content to the visitor quickly and all the while not forgetting that it needs to look good too!
The new website combines a brand refresh with a set of guidelines ensuring that most pages weigh in at well under 2mb and in a lot of cases are still under 1mb. This means that content is in front of visitors right away and they're able to research their holidays quickly and easily whether they're on a desktop pc with broadband or browsing on their phones on the bus.
We've slashed page sizes from several megabytes to less than 1mb in many cases.
For the Olympic team the results have been a revelation - moving from an old and incredibly slow version of Umbraco that in some cases took minutes to update a single page to a complete new ground up rebuild has meant that task completion time for managing content has dropped massively.
This allows the team to concentrate on adding new content and responding to customer demands by being able to create and promote offers much quicker as well as testing them. Creating landing pages and promotions and integrating them into multiple pages is easy and flexible and leading to improving conversion rates across the site.
For customers, the site is a big step forward in terms of speed, ease of access to information and thanks to an improved content structure and focus on what's available in resorts and at hotels it's easier than ever to browse and find a holiday that can then be booked through the new booking system.
Why not check out the site yourself and visit OlympicHolidays.com
I was very impressed with the whole process.
Very simple and easy to book no hidden extra features which complicates other online sites.Customer feedback after booking with Olympic Holidays
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