The Lakes accommodation leaders

Lakelovers are the largest holiday cottage provider in the Lake District. Established in 1977, they have a portfolio of nearly 500 properties, from character cottages to 5-star opulence. In today’s increasingly competitive holiday rental landscape, Lakelovers needed to extend its superlative guest experience to the digital space. Last year, Lakelover contacted Gendall to completely redesign the guest-facing digital experiences and simplify the customer experience, whilst hooking all of this in to their Property Management System, TABS.

Gendall have been so very accommodating and professional yet with the all-important ‘personal touch’, working with the team becomes part of your daily life and long may that continue.
Paul Liddell - Managing Director

Improving the customer experience

Lakelovers approached us to improve the overall customer experience, from an aesthetic point of view right through to the technology used behind the scenes. The user's needs come first, and the new site makes searching for, learning about, and booking a property a seamless and enjoyable experience.

  1. Action plan

    By drawing up an customer experience action plan, we prioritised features according to how high they ranked in overall customer satisfaction. First on the list was an overhaul of the checkout.

  1. User journey

    We ran a series of user studies to find out where the pinch points were, what needed to be improved and what elements were just getting in the way.

  1. Refining the process

    The user-interface design for all aspects of the checkout process was also a major part of the redesign and rebuild. An iterative design-and-development workflow have created an efficient booking and checkout process.

Putting it All Together

The finished website. Responsive design with a mobile first approach.

Checkout the checkout

A refined smaller checkout process.

Prototyping

Wireframing and clickthrough prototyping using Marvel

Constant iteration

Monitoring analytics and other systems for constant improvement

Booking system integration

The new site represents a complete ground-up rebuild of the integration with the client's internal booking system, TABS. We developed a bespoke WordPress plugin to handle the connection to the TABS API, and handle the importing/updating of property data (attributes, prices,content, images, availability info, etc.).

Lakelovers can now manage all their property-integrations through a custom dashboard within the WP admin area - allowing them to update different aspects of any property at the push of a button (removing their dependence on the unreliable, insecure, and performance-heavy scripts they were previously using).

The new codebase is also built with maintenance and ongoing improvement in mind. Adding new features and enhancements is a much more straightforward process than it was in the past.

The need for speed

One of the primary objectives for the Lakelovers site rebuild was to improve the loading performance. A faster site creates a better experience for users across the board, but is especially relevant for the growing percentage of users on mobile devices (>50%) where bandwidth and connection-reliability are real concerns. An efficient, fast site saves those users time and money. By drastically reducing the database size, reducing calls and an all round effeicincy drive that included a CDN and advanced caching, we were able to reduce the load time of the site be 85% compared to the old site.