Perex

Building brand new experience for ski travel agency.

Clients

Hitka

About

Hitka travel agency is family owned business. They were pionieers in organizing experience-focused vacations. Skiing holidays gradually moved from Slovakia to Austria, Italy, and France. Hitka travel agency is specialist on skiing vacations in French Alps and is a major player in Slovak market.

About Project

Situation

Hitka travel agency reached to us with Drupal 6 website. Given the age of the website, it wasn't responsive and very inefficient search didn't allow customers to find their desired skiing vacation destinations online.

    Solution

    We created new Drupal 8 website with search with facets. That significantly improved efficiency of the onsite search results and helped the customer always reach to desired results. 

    Body

    Hitka is a travel agency specialising in ski trips. When Hitka contacted Made It Digital, it was looking for a reliable partner to expand its website with summer vacations and channel cruises. Even though the main sales channel remains offline, Hitka was looking to increase online sales. Made It Digital was able to deliver all these goals using Drupal 8.

    Hitka had some previous experience with Drupal 6 and during Made It Digital’s analysis of Hitka’s business needs and current technologies it became clear that Drupal 8 met Hitka’s current and future needs. In particular better editor experience and technical superiority were main factors over Drupal 6 or 7.

    Wordpress was also considered but it wasn’t able to provide a highly customised solution. It was clear to the client that custom CMS is no-go because of vendor lock and lack of the community.

    Main goals of the project were to:

    • Migrate all existing content from Drupal 6
    • Integrate with the client’s internal systems
    • Provide simple system for requesting proposals
    • Deliver efficient search search
    • Improve the visual identity of the website

    The previous website powered by Drupal 6 was redesigned because of:

    • Lack of security coverage
    • Weak visual identity
    • Inability to use modern technologies

    An important requirement for the project was automatic migration. The website consists of several hundred destinations, each of them with tens of hotels. Every piece of content contains several multimedia links. Furthermore each hotel has its own pricing which is usually updated several times per week.

    Made It Digital wrote custom migration plugins to migrate the custom fields and the highly customised meta-tags. Hitka was very pleased with this part of the project because all the data was migrated correctly and after launching there was no perceivable drop in its search positions. This was beyond the expectations of the client and is an example of the expertise and experience that Made It Digital brings to all its website projects.

    We decided not to migrate pricings but import them from scratch instead. As we needed to provide a tool for importing pricing models regularly, the decision to write a price-importer module also helped minimize one-time-use code. Pricing models consist of complex data for every holiday accommodation, room type, dates and transportation. First, we considered using the well known Migrate module for this task but we proceeded with building a custom batch process because Hitka needs to be able to run the import on its own.
    We provided Hitka with a simple form to upload new pricing models and select which pricing model is used for each user group. After uploading a new pricing model it is parsed and stored as custom entity types and also indexed for search.

    The former site was limited by a very simple search tool. It was difficult to use and visitors frequently saw no results which led to high exit rates. To minimize frustration of visitors Made It Digital recommended and delivered ‘faceted’ search on the accommodation parameters. Now visitors can filter results by facilities and location or set price ranges. We also significantly extended number of locations where users can use the search.

    A major challenge was simplifying the online ordering system. We were considering Commerce for this task, but a lot of changes within every new pricing model led to significant slowing down of the website. Instead we created a custom, easy-to-use form which enables visitors to select the destination they want and then,later in the process, visitors are able to change the number of people they are ordering for and add various upsell products which are specific for every destination, whilst seeing a continually updated price.