Tourism Platform

Optimise an existing website for monetisation.

What they wanted

Our client asked us to help them monetise their existing website. Prior to the project, their website’s purpose was to promote our client’s country as a tourist destination.

Our client had in mind 5 mechanisms for generating revenue: affiliate marketing, database marketing, deals & packages, advertising revenues, and merchandising. Our client had prioritised these five mechanisms by potential for revenue generation based on current visitor numbers and accepted industry conversion rates.

What we achieved

We identified the best value proposition for our client’s website based on the expectations and pain points of their users and the internal capabilities that our client had built over the years. This enabled us to change their digital strategy from monetising their website to monetising their website’s users. We developed a seamless and intuitive user experience that maximised the potential revenue generation of our client’s website as well as fully addressing users’ expectations and pain points.

We supported the design with an in depth analysis of the main tourist profiles visiting the country. This enabled our client to build a marketing strategy to target potential visitors with the aim to become the visitors’ trusted source of inspiration and planning before they had made their most significant purchases (such as flights and accommodation), thus expanding targeted revenues to the full visitor spend of ~ZAR 17 billion.

Our analysis enabled us to develop a high-level road map to guide development and smoothly transition to a full potential digital service whilst minimising implementation risk.

What we did

Usability testing

We conducted in-depth testing, with users, of our client’s website to understand what users expected from the existing experience. We analysed our client’s internal capabilities from a user centric perspective as well as other digital and non-digital competitive assets that they had developed. This process surfaced the key insight that users valued our client’s content and expected to be able to complete transactions inspired by the content without leaving our client’s site.

Personas and customer journeys

Following this groundwork, we identified key user personas. We recruited a sample of these personas and conducted deep behavioural interviews to understand their underlying motivations and pain points. This allowed us to construct detailed customer journeys to identify unmet needs and critical pain points as well as in depth empathy maps to highlight drivers of behaviour.

Experience Map

Using the data gathered thus far, we created a user journey map through every stage of a typical traveller’s experience. The journey map incorporates a user’s thoughts, actions, their behaviour models and the technology platforms they use at each stage. We used the map to discuss each step in detail and to identify opportunities to improve the customer experience by solving the user’s pain points.

Industry analysis and digital strategy

We conducted a thorough analysis and mapping of the tourist industry in the country. We identified key attributes of visiting tourists such as age (66% of visitors accounting for ~R11.3Bn of spend are aged between 25 and 44), country of origin and major spend categories (85% of spend originates from just 5 countries), as well as spend decision making (visitors go through a number of cycles of inspiration, planning and booking, each phase of which requires different types of support).

To understand the potential benefits of providing a deeper level of service, we analysed the commission available to alternate digital business models (i.e. ~5%} for referrals vs 15%+ for full service travel agents). This allowed us to size the addressable market available to our client.

Sizing the addressable market directly supported investment decision making in terms of both how much to invest in the site build but also in the operating model and marketing necessary to support it.

We analysed our client’s current ability to implement the components necessary to deliver the new strategy. This allowed us to prioritise development and build a plan to build the internal skills needed to deliver the full potential digital strategy.

Prototypes and testing

We agreed a set of design principles aligned to the emerging strategy that enabled us to construct an initial prototype of the ideal user experience. We tested the clickable prototype with specially recruited members of our target personas under the supervision of an experienced behavioural tester.


Between rounds of testing we updated the user journey to improve any issues surfaced. Multiple rounds of testing and iteration of the design enabled us to develop a seamless intuitive journey that met with our target users’ expectations and needs as well as hitting the strategic objectives of our client.

We handed these high fidelity prototypes (essentially a highly detailed blueprint) to our client’s software development partners for coding.

Services used in this case study

User research Usability testing Industry analysis UX Design Customer strategy Prototpying

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