Ollie and his team had been operating their business using a stock standard website builder and template, Rezdy (booking platform) and Hubspot. None of the pieces talked to each other and maintaining the website and tours was an arduous task, both in upkeep of content but also updating availability of the guides.
We identified multiple opportunities to consolidate software and in turn make administrators staff a lot less cumbersome. A custom WordPress build would give them the flexibility and beauty of a marketing website for attracting new customers, combined with the power of in-built booking software and user accounts for adventures who purchase adventurers. The trick here would be to balance all three user types to ensure everyone could navigate the platform effectively.
The first consideration with a platform like this is who are the users? We have visitors who become customers, administrative staff and blog editors, and then the Bushmen guides themselves. Working through the funnel, the marketing website was of huge importance and quite a design challenge. I had to cater for two types of visitors – those who had no idea what to do in New Zealand, and therefore needed hand-holding and guidance, but also visitors who *did* know what they wanted to do and would need a more direct path to finding suitable adventures. As you'll see in the designs below, we managed to cater for both types of users.
It's been a tough time for tourism in New Zealand. With our borders closed and a platform targeted at international tourism, the usual markers of success are out the door. However, we entered the website into the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Awards in Nov 2020 and we came away with a prestigious Gold Pin Award – so we did something right!
As it became evident COVID-19 wasn't going away, the focus of the platform has switched to treading water, and how we can get ready for a future influx of tourists – long tail search terms and incremental improvements.
At the top of the funnel we have a lot of visitors who arrive for the first time to the website and a) have no idea what Bushman Tours is and b) aren't sure what's on offer. Addressing these two queries we focused on a educationary homepage experience - balancing the story of Bushman Tours itself whilst showcasing some of the great adventures on offer.
When they're ready to dive in, they can either search for particular adventures, or dive into and learn about the regions of New Zealand.
At this point in the funnel we know the user is likely to be 'new' to New Zealand, perhaps an overseas tourist and so we're selling the different areas to them. Without overwhelming them, the design uses enchanting, accurate imagery of the region whilst highlighting what adventure types are on offer and brief description of the area.
Once they choose a region, they can then read a bit more about it in depth – what the climate is like, the history to be discovered etc. The design progresses naturally from educational at the top, to offering adventures to click through to further down the page. If the visitors reaches the bottom of any page, we have a handy CTA prompting them to get in touch for more tailored advice.
The adventure pages are really the pinnacle content of the website. Ultimately they will be the main SEO juice for the website and so we decided to pack them out with content.
We introduce the adventure with a nice overview about what the adventure entails, where they will go and what they'll see. This, paired with some easy to digest statistics and beautiful imagery make it easy for new visitors to decide quickly whether it sounds/looks like them, or not.
As the visitors scrolls down the page we slowly dive into the more nitty gritty - what gear you'll need, any extras you can purchase for the adventure, what you'll do on each day, and any other common questions you might have get answered as you scroll. The Book button is also fixed to the top of the page, so when they're ready to check available dates - it's already there.
Ollie, the founder, wanted the gear list to be exhaustive as such to avoid carelessness in the outdoors. As a proper adventure tourism platform, we made the gear list a real feature of the page. We used helpful, intuitive icons to aid users who English wasn't their first language and further broke the section down in required and optional gear.
We broke down the page into succinct sections that any adventurer needs to effectively plan their trip.
And lastly, if they have any more questions we have a catch-all CTA at the bottom with an easy form to find out more information. We also suggest more related adventures to the one they've just viewed in case they are looking for similar options. These are related by the type of adventure, but also in the same location.
Tied to all adventures, and littered around the site are the Bushmen themselves. Men and women who get out there and lead the adventures they offer. An integral part of the platform, each Bushmen gets their own profile page to inform the visitor about the guide.
We have sections for where they're from, their social channels, embedded videos of their adventures and aggregate stats from their adventures - like total distance and elevation! These are more fun than useful, but are pretty impressive when you add them up.