Real Holidays

A unique, inspirational website re-launch, including innovative PWA functionality.

Real Holidays was established in 1989, and its highly knowledgeable staff specialise in crafting unique, personal travel experiences for loyal clients.

Insight:

Wild Dog was tasked with a combined brand refresh and website overhaul for Real Holidays. As a highly regarded specialist travel agency, the site had evolved over time and to an extent had lost its way.

The hand-written font, updated strapline and new colour palette had given a new lease of life to the brand, but the website needed considerable work.

Real Holidays pride themselves on their relationships with their customers, and their ability of their staff to listen, understand, and create the perfect, tailor made holiday.

However, the current site led people into more of a ‘search and filter’ approach, with long menus and a lengthy navigation bar.

This was giving the wrong impression – it needed to be more of an inspirational showcase, giving users enough of a taster of the Real Holidays experience, driving them to call or visit to find out more.

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Our approach:

The site needed a bold new approach, and we needed the tight-knit team to be on board ensuring everyone’s voice was heard. We managed to prise the entire team out of their Islington office (into a room above a local pub!) for a comprehensive focus group and workshop.

There was unanimous agreement that the power of the brand lay in the direct relationship between the staff and their customers; and the truly authentic nature of their trips. Everyone was on board with the new approach, to move away from a search listings approach to an inspirational showcase.

Real Holidays pride themselves on their relationships with their customers, and their ability of their staff to listen, understand, and create the perfect, tailor made holiday.

The hand-written font, updated strapline and new colour palette had given a new lease of life to the brand. This personal, accommodating and welcoming brand was interpreted and carried though into the new brochures. Beautifully designed, in a coffee table style, uncoated stock with high production values was used throughout and created a keep-sake appeal.

Concurrently the new site needed to be more of an inspirational showcase, rather than a directory by destination and activity. This would give users enough of a taster of the Real Holidays experience, driving them to call or visit to find out more.

The navigation was stripped down to three main headers. ‘Travel Ideas’ moved away from the ‘destination’ or ‘holiday style’ approach of the competition. Clicking down this route brought up an editorially controlled inspirational selection of itineraries, properties or articles. Large images, laid out asymmetrically, draw the users’ eyes down the page. Opening an option brings in the full details, but our ‘no dead ends’ approach offered up similar trips to keep users browsing.

‘Who We Are’ was the second main header, bring up an overview of the Real Holidays staff, with pictures, quotes and a brief profile. This stood at odds with the normal approach of hiding the team somewhere in the depths of the site.

‘Why Us’ was an opportunity to expand on the Real Holidays approach, helping ensure that leads are qualified.

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Mobile:

During the research phase we showed the growing share of traffic to Real Holidays from mobile devices. Year-on-year mobile traffic was up by 50%. However, we saw that mobile users were spending less time, viewing fewer pages and doing less. This was hard to quantify as a business problem, but we knew that we needed to improve the experience.

Our tailored approach for mobile removed took an innovative new approach. We removed the hamburger menu to remove any barriers to browsing or getting in touch. This was replaced by a single navigation choice, placed at the bottom of the screen (within thumb reach). To improve speed and performance, the mobile site was built in PWA (Progressive Web App) technology.

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