Peak Retreats is a fantastic alpine holiday provider with a wealth of knowledge about their sector. Having won a number of travel awards it was obvious to us that their expertise is unparallelled yet, technically their systems were not performing at the same level as their business.

The Key aims and objectives of the project were:

  • Improve page load speed for mobile and desktop devices (mobile site speed affects search rankings)
  • Enhance organic search engine visibility
  • Develop more manageable / cost effective code to work with in the future
  • Develop modular code allowing for swapping and changing of website components without affecting other parts of the site
  • Vastly improve mobile experience
  • Improve lifespan of the system
  • Reduce dependency on third party software
  • Improve the setup of the content management system
  • Provide access to functionality not available with the current set up.

We worked with the key stakeholders and project leads at Peak Retreats to develop an information architecture diagram which identified all the templates of the website that needed redesign and redevelopment. All the identified templates of the website were to be re-coded in a manner based on their current content.

Peak Retreats Architecture

The existing website was only a few years old but had been built in a way that made adding new functionality and features was far more time consuming and therefore more costly than was really necessary. An important goal with the redevelopment was to get more users on the website to book their holidays, and therefore needed to be accessible across a range of devices and browsers.

The Peak Retreats website is very data heavy, and the redevelopment work included a substantial amount of data migration from their old site to their new one. This was completed using custom scripts to transport and transform the data where necessary.

There are a huge number of properties on the Peak Retreats website so effective database management was paramount to the success of the project. Developing the site on the Umbraco platform ensured that the management of this was easy for the Peak Retreats team to maintain in the future.

From a user experience perspective the large amount of properties meant that it was important for the websites features to make this manageable for users, by using filters and search options we could ensure that users were seeing the results most relevant to them. The pages are largely image led, with galleries for each user to showcase the areas and the properties for key user engagement.

The upgrade has enabled a number of APIs to be integrated enabling Peak Retreats to implement further revenue streams, allow users to self-serve and reduce the pressures on staff:

Managing enquiries was a somewhat laborious task for the team, so rather than managing all enquiries by email we integrated the system with Pipedrive, a CRM (customer relationship management) platform. This allows the team to access all enquiries and customer details from a single source location.

Keeping healthy mailing lists is more important than ever and so we integrated the system with Mailchimp, a great piece of software that allows users to add and remove themselves from mailing lists and allows the team to create beautiful email marketing campaigns and manage their delivery.

Perplex Mail
Perplex provides website administrators with full control over their emails. The ability to view and edit the emails that the site sends out is extremely useful for anyone managing the site.

Google Analytics
Statistics are so important to ensuring the site performs as it should. With the implementation of Google Analytics we are able to effectively measure where improvements can be made to the system and how best we can serve the needs of the user.

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Booking system

Initially the website drove users to make contact with Peak Retreats by phone, email or form completion, from which the sales team would make contact. This seemed inefficient for users who would happily book online. We made a proposal for the development of a bespoke booking system as a second phase to the project, which would allow users to self-serve and reduce the manpower overheads Peak Retreats required to manage the sales process.

Diamond, the internal system Peak Retreats use to process and manage bookings needed to work with the site to provide holiday results and allow the user to book these holidays online. We worked with Diamond’s API to pull through details and return the booked holiday details so that staff in the office could view and manage the bookings.

This booking system has proved highly successful.

Client Area

The requirement for users to access information following their initial booking was made apparent following the development of the booking system. We were requested to develop an area of the site where users could access their information, make part payments and make requests to add new items to their booking. Rather than build this system with forms as initially requested, we instead decided to leverage the latest advances in JavaScript to create an interactive experience that would not only challenge us as developers but also provide an exceptional user experience for the end user.

Availpro allowed Peak Retreats to begin to sell hotel accommodation. The integration of Availpro was challenging as hotels differed so much from the usual offering of self catering chalets and apartments. A large amount of reworking was required however, following our modular build approach made this process far simpler to implement.