How We Partnered with a Leading Global Travelogue Publisher
to Solve their Puzzle of Augmenting User Experience without Losing out on SEO Rankings
Having built a secure back-end & an intuitive UI for a popular travel guide portal with a large global user-base, we are now powering it with continuous & hands-on tech-support.
20,000+ Pages, Millions of Readers and Users Across the Globe.
100% Client Satisfaction, Continuous Support and Maintenance.
A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs -
From Weathering Rough Waters to Setting up Rough Guides
Travel publications all around the world bank on the romanticism of travelers, spoon-feeding them picture-perfect content and dreamy expectations garbed as facts. However, this marketing of a picture-perfect travel fantasy has very little appeal to real backpackers and adventure seekers.
Rough Guides stands out in this cacophony of travel storytellers and travelogues by saying it as it is. It offers travel guides as well as tailor-made trips created by experts. Within just a few years of being founded, Rough Guides proved that they are no run-of-the-mill travel startup.
Rough Guides started as a single travel guide in 1982. Mark Ellingham and Martin Dunford met in Greece in 1981, and when they returned to the UK, they wrote their first rough guide to Greece. Rough guides became an overnight success as their hallmark mix of journalistic approach and practical overtone appealed to prospective travelers looking to navigate a new country all by themselves. Today, Rough Guides is a successful travel publication that has travel guides published for over 120 international publications.
Partnership with Digicorp: Rough Guides Found the Perfect Match to Hire a Dedicated Team That Complements and Gels Seamlessly with Their In-house Developers
In 2017, around the time when Rough Guides was acquired by the Apa Publications Group, they began to reimagine and reinvent their offerings. One of the key observations that the leadership team had was that while their content was top-notch and boosted their search engine rankings significantly, the overall user experience lacked the x-factor to keep readers engaged and hooked. At that time, their website already had 20,000+ pages and counting, but the site architecture, layout, and look and feel were not doing justice to it. Further, the pages were slow to load, visually unappealing and largely static.
Before Digicorp, Rough Guides had already burnt their fingers with a software development agency who were unable to deliver on time, lacked proactiveness and were unable to blend and coordinate with Rough Guides’ in-house team. When Digicorp stepped in, it was clear to us that there were critical service gaps left behind by the earlier agency that had to be bridged. We made it a priority to deliver the client’s vision for Rough Guides in its best form at the earliest.
Our Approach - Need Mapping and User Research:
First, we identified the key needs of the client and studied their in-depth user-research translated them into project goals. These were:
- Consolidate the existing content with improved site architecture and design without losing the search engine rankings
- Work closely with their in-house developers to convert the vast majority of slow, static pages into fast-loading, dynamic pages that engage and convert
- Aid the Rough Guides leadership and content team to launch and promote new forms of content like podcasts, ebooks, publications, reports and so on.
Our Engagement Model, Technologies Deployed and Key Results Achieved:
Our dedicated team for Rough Guides brought to the table exceptional capabilities like WordPress development and high-end custom coding using HTML and CSS. Within the first 6-8 months, we were able to turnaround their website to make it more intuitive, elegant and well-structured with systematically organized content that was easily accessible and navigable. We then continued to provide seamless hands-on support and effortless feature up-gradation for the website for the next 18 months. We also helped to redesigned the website UI and UX from scratch and redefined the user experience of Rough Guides.
Our efforts paid off as the client continued to soar and reach new heights. In addition to travel guides, Rough Guides has now ventured into several other offerings.
- Rough Guides is one of the few travel businesses to have an award-winning website, which offers travel information, as well as inspirational features for its readers.
- They have published a wide range of eBooks about travel, mindfulness, economics and much more.
- Rough Guides is popular for their dictionary phrasebooks which are available in 18 major languages.
- They work with the Foreign and Commonwealth office of the UK to offer travel advice, essential tips and destination information on their website, Know before you go.
- In 2017, Rough Guides launched a podcast called The Rough Guide to Everywhere, which explores travel issues and interviews travel influencers and inspirational travelers. In 2019, the podcast was nominated for the Best Branded Podcast category at The British Podcast Awards.
Concluding Note: Being a Part of the Spectacular Success of Rough Guides
Rough Guides has successfully turned its publishing success into a long term sustainable business. Its stories have been spun into television shows on BBC 2 as a part of Janet Street Porter’s DEF II strand. They made the headlines when they started offering their tailor-made trips in 2018 and are regularly in news for their features and publications. Rough Guides is one of the few travel businesses that have achieved a well-rounded success over several decades by evolving constantly and it has been an absolute pleasure for us at Digicorp to be a part of their growth story.
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