UX & Web Design
Planning Starts for Monarch Airlines Travel Portal
Thu 19 Feb 2009
Fly Monarch, Cosmos, and somewhere2stay are all part of the same travel group. It was decided in May 2008 to merge all the flights, holidays and accommodation products into one consumer focused brand, creating a Monarch Travel portal.
The reasoning behind the strategy is to:
- Maximize advertising spend and build brand awareness by driving traffic to one website, instead of spreading costs across three specialist brands.
- Improve the websites search engine optimization, by structuring all products in a clear and logical way across the site and merging the rich content into one site.
- Capitalize on the improved cross product selling opportunities, for example by upselling a flight to include hotels and car hire.
- Streamline IT costs and time by ‘upgrading’ the technology into one uniform development platform for all the sites.
The initial phase of the project was to duplicate and re-skin the current Cosmos Holidays and Somewhere2stay websites to create Monarch Holidays and Monarch Hotels, to support Fly Monarch and provide a customers with more travel products. This phase ensured that brand awareness was being built up before the full Monarch Travel portal was developed. The existing Cosmos and somewhere2stay websites were then blocked from search engines and positioned as trade only websites.
Once phase one of the project was complete, we began the planning and wireframing stage of the Monarch Travel portal build. This is always an exciting part of a project where all the interested parties and stakeholders get involved. Workshops provided us with enough information to wireframe the entire website. The wireframes were then thoroughly analysed by all parties to ensure that usability, search engine optimization, content management and effective cross selling opportunities were all maximized to full effect.
The wireframes also provided a framework to establish build priorities, and project timings as well as highlighting where gaps in content appear, giving plenty of time for everyone to line up the ducks, so to speak.
It was decided that the Portal build would be split into 2 phases. Phase 1 would include the overall framework of the website including all ‘research’ content (destination, hotel guides, attraction information etc.) as well as the supporting legal content, frequently asked question and company information. Phase 2 would include the flights, holidays and hotels booking paths.
Initial designs were produced and honed until again they ticked all the boxes; it was important that the online look and feel matched the off-line advertising campaigns.