Today, TUI Nordic’s online sales account for more than 65 percent of its total sales – approximately SEK 8 billion – making it one of the largest e-commerce Groups in the Nordic region. Just a few years ago, when we were approached by TUI, the situation was very different.

Back then, the online competition was intense and a steady stream of new competitors kept appearing. How could we help TUI improve their digital customer interface and increase their sales? How should we advice TUI to best face the emerging competition? Where to begin? We needed a digital transformation expert to create a strategy for future customer experiences and to carry out a practical implementation.

TUI Nordic’s brands in the Nordic countries

Our mission: a new customer experience that drives sales

Our mission for TUI Nordic was initiated in 2010 and comprised a number of strategic projects, conceptual prototypes and customer-centric designs for Fritidsresor.se, as well as corresponding websites in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Fritidsresor.se is one of Sweden’s largest e-commerce sites in terms of total sales. It imposes uncompromising requirements on the customer experience. Everything – strategically, conceptually and visually – should be of the highest standards for the customer to be inspired and feel safe when selecting and completing a purchase. This should be notable when browsing through travel destinations. The service must deliver sales-driving inspiration — regardless of whether the customer is visiting by computer, smartphone or tablet. For an agency like ours, it was a dream assignment.

Strategy

”How do people actually decide on where to go on holiday?”

This was the first and most fundamental question we needed to answer, and we needed to do it independent of channel. What are the general questions, requirements, problems and challenges faced by potential travelers at various stages of the decision-making and purchase process? When we were able to answer these questions, we knew where digital technology could play a part.

In our change work, we examined:

  • Fritidsresor’s business and sales processes — what were these like in detail?
  • Fritidsresor’s business environment, competitors and adjacent operators
  • Who are the users — the primary and secondary target groups?
  • What was the purchasing process like and what were the customers’ needs, behavior and expectations at various stages?
Daytona’s digital-strategy model includes three areas on which to focus research work.

Meet customers and experts

In order to answer all our questions, we conducted extensive research using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to obtain the most reliable data possible.

Understandning the customer´s buying process

To understand the process of finding, comparing and selecting travel destinations and hotels, we conducted several interviews with customers who were about to book a trip or who had just completed a booking.

Understandning the in-store sales process

To understand the questions that are raised in a store environment in conjunction with the selection and booking of journeys, we spent a couple of days at Fritidsresor’s travel agency on Sveavägen in Stockholm, Sweden.

Understanding the most frequently occurring support issues

We monitored customer-service calls to identify the issues raised when faced with the selection and booking of a journey. Which of these questions could be answered digitally instead?

Understanding product offerings and trends

We interviewed TUI’s product owner, a true expert on current products and trends, to achieve in-depth knowledge about the changing nature of travel and purchases of journeys.

Understanding how the market works

In the course of purchasing a travel experience, customers visit a considerable number of portals in order to find and compare the alternatives: booking.com, hotels.com, Tripadvisor, Google, etc. We identified the roles of these services and those of TUI’s direct competitors.

Understanding digital presence

TUI works actively with social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and e-mails. They also have an app available for last-minute travel. We studied each channel carefully to identify what each respective channel could offer in terms of helpful customer experiences and brand building.

Understanding how travel experience are being discussed

What travel-related issues do people discuss and seek answers to in other local forums, such as Familjeliv.se, Flashback, Alltforforaldrar.se or Facebook? What terminology do people use and what do they consider to be important when planning their next travel experience?

Understandning different digital behaviour

Using web analytics, we identified the differences in the needs and behavior of various visitor categories. The statistical data uncovered a range of behavior and distinct evidence of a radical increase in the share of visitors using smartphones.

Validating our insights

The visitors to Fritidsresor.se are numerous and deeply committed. We received thousands of responses from a few days of web surveys, which enabled us to validate our hypotheses from the qualitative research.

Mobile, mobile, mobile

A crucial focal point of the strategic work was identifying customers’ increasing use of smartphones and the manner in which various mobile platforms and operating systems would be developed in the next few years and how this would influence the purchasing process.

How do people actually decide where to go?

Our strategy efforts were focused on the nature of customers’ purchases and decision-making processes. We looked closely at these and examined the needs that were of importance to the customers at each respective stage of the journey to the journey.

Where are we going? When are we going?

Different customers have different starting points in their choice of a journey. We observed two principal groups of customers: one group began their travel planning by looking for destinations and places to visit, while the other group began their search based on a travel date. We needed to provide support to both of these customer groups.

It takes time to make a decision

A holiday experience, particularly one that involves an entire family, is a substantial investment. As a result, the purchase process tended to be long and complex. It included research with many different travel suppliers, other related services and social media — and on a considerable number of occasions, over time. How could we create a customer experience that supported and facilitated this process?

Understanding the collaborative effort

One revelation was that very few customers made unilateral decisions about destinations, dates and budgets. Usually, several collective decisions would determine the particular journey that was chosen. How could we create collaborative functions to facilitate research and decision-making within groups?

Segmentation and customer categories

TUI proceeded from the segmentation of its target groups and a distinct aim to expand specific target groups. We converted the segmentation into four different customer categories, which we used to facilitate our decisions and priorities on design.

Our design had one main focus: to make each category stand out

In three years, we will...

We created a shared target vision that stretched three years into the future and comprised distinct concepts for changing the customer journey:

  • clear concepts to change and facilitate the customer journey
  • new and improved presentations of hotels and destinations
  • increased and clarified add-on sales
  • increased loyalty and different purchase flows/functions for different scenarios/devices
  • an image and film-based customer experience with distinct calls to action, and
  • a process for continuous optimization.

How we help customers to find the best journey

Using the target vision and the insights we gained about our customers, we designed a number of concepts for service content and functions, which we tested on customers and prioritized. The following are some of the most distinct concepts.

Efficient home page

Meet our customers’ greatest needs and lead them in the right direction. Simultaneously inspire and drive sales. Stringent prioritization, particularly on what is to be included in the least responsive version.

Relevant product pages

Present destinations and hotels in a manner that is relevant to the visitor, with less text, fewer pages and a sharper focus on images, video clips and distinct calls to action. Every page is a potential landing page.

Smart offerings

How should offerings be displayed, where and when? Drive sales while remaining relevant to the customer.

Customer grading

Display customer grades for hotels in a correct, honest and transparent manner. How do we proceed in a manner that is perceived as relevant?

Incorporating smartphone use for now and for the future

We created a number of visionary prototypes for how smartphones could become a part of the travel experience and generate add-on sales for TUI.

Different content on different platforms

From the strategies, we realized that customers’ needs differed depending on whether they visited the service through a computer, tablet device or smartphone. This required explicit prioritization. In several workshops and training sessions with TUI, we agreed on proposals that were subsequently tested on users.

Structures and flows

Based on our customer insights, we reworked the structure at Fritidsresor.se. We identified specific thresholds and purchase triggers in order to create the most efficient search functions and purchase flows possible. We worked closely with Fritidsresor and conducted continuous user trials to ensure usability.

Design

The feel, down to the smallest pixel.

In our design work for TUI, we proceeded from our iterative process, where we designed the service together with end customers in small steps. We started off with wide-sweep searches and gross conceptual sketches. In the subsequent steps, we created increasingly detailed wire frames, until we landed in a finished, visual design.

Innovation through a customer-centric iterative process.

Involve everyone

In a design-studio exercise, we engaged a large number of individuals from Fritidsresor in a design brainstorming session, which works perfectly when introducing a design phase. It generated many useful design ideas and created a sense of commitment.

Shared vision of the style

An exercise with our client, through which we jointly create a shared vision and formulate a feel for how the coming design should be perceived. Using antonyms, we discussed which point on the continuum we want to be at. For example, popular–exclusive, loud–quiet.

Prototypes as method

Our design work starts with prototypes, which we use to conduct customer trials and subsequently refine. Some of the best solutions we tested and refined related to the service’s responsiveness, in terms of both configuration and content.

A customer-centric approach

To understand the process of finding, comparing and selecting travel destinations and hotels, we conducted several interviews with customers who were about to book a trip or who had just completed a booking.

The hunt for a digital identity

We spearheaded the work by arriving at a visual expression of and linguistic tonality for TUI’s digital customer experience. We made several trips together with TUI’s Creative Director and an in-house photographer, to identify a suitable digital style for the images of hotels, beaches, people, pools, etc. The images formed the beginnings of a new in-house image bank. At the same time, we defined TUI’s digital tonality and held courses for all their content creators.

Brand manual as code

We implemented TUI’s digital identity by creating a library of HTML/CSS/JS components, comprising buttons, texts, headings, small apps and other building blocks for the interface. This enabled various developers at TUI to fetch blocks of code for the components they needed directly from the library. This allowed for the customer experience to be consistent.

The results

A completely responsive website with a new structure and design, partially new content and entirely new and responsive interface scripts. A website that adapts to the user’s technology and, compared with the previous website, increases conversion.

Click on the image to zoom.

Home page
Concept page
Country page
Hotel page (tablet device)
Destination page (smartphone)

“Daytona has been an integral part of our digital journey in the past four years, in terms of both concept and design. They pursue and challenge their user-centric approach. Nearly all operations require a constant top-up of similar cutting-edge skills and innovation.”

Lottie Knutsson, TUI Nordic

Top 100 #1 2011

“The urge to travel is seldom as strong as after a visit to Fritidsresor.se. Just as accurately and attractively as the company markets its journeys, the visitor is cautiously guided all the way to end. /.../ In the past year, Fritidsresor has surpassed itself. It can now offer its customers a digital journey that is nearly on a par with the company’s charter trips.”

Top 100 #2 2012

“An already impressive platform for inspiration and booking trips continues to be developed, for both computers and smartphones.”

Top 100 #2 2013

“This year, Fritidsresor has demonstrated that inspiration to travel not only occurs in front of a computer, but also when we’re relaxing on a couch or waiting at a bus stop in the snow with your smartphone. They show us all what a well-designed, responsive site with numerous functions and extensive content should look like.”

Three questions to Maria Söderberg, Service Designer

What were the key success factors?

— A close dialog with TUI – with everyone from those working on the website to those responsible for the business and brand.

Any lessons learned?

— We learned a lot about what is takes for solutions to work on an international scale – each country had their own behaviors, platforms and preferences.

What are you most proud of?

— That we could help increase customer inspiration by making it easier to find and decide on the next trip.

Maria Söderberg, Service Designer

Roles in the project

  • Strategy, concept & design: Daytona
  • Digital identity: Daytona
  • Technical development TUI Nordic IT

Do you want to know more about the project or how we work?

Contact Martin Ragnevad, CEO.
martin.ragnevad@daytona.se