The Safari Partners is a tour operating company focused on providing travel tours in Eastern and Southern Africa. Their mission is to “integrate international travellers and local rural people to their mutual benefit and to demonstrate that wildlife can be conserved on a sustainable basis by all”.
The Safari Partners were looking for a website that could showcase their Tours and Safaris. They wanted to give clients the ability to search for trips based on a Country or a Region or a specific interest. The website must guide the visitor in choosing the right safari to suit their needs, provide them with information on the seasons, what types of travel options are available, what types of accommodation they can expect, the types of vehicles used as well as details on the tour and safari guides, and so on. In order to accomplish this, LightSpeed faced the following challenges:
The Safari Partners had an existing website that was built on the Joomla content management system. LightSpeed set up a WordPress installation for their new website and then migrated their blog post content for the “News” section of their website.
Next, we proceeded with the design. The Safari Partners already had a design in place but we redesigned a couple of their templates. Our designer had to base the design on their current website and he was asked to reference other travel sites for certain design ideas. The same layouts as the other reference sites were used while maintaining the native styles and colours from the current Safari Partners website. Therefore, he had to take some initiative in terms of layout.
We worked with an online collaboration tool called InVision. This tool allowed us to communicate with the client directly on the design template in an online, interactive format. We uploaded the design template and then the client would provide their feedback on the design by simply clicking on the section that they were referring to and making their comments.
Once the client signed off, our designer rewrote some of the styles in the website’s files. Most of the styles were already in place and our designer only had to make a few changes. For example, he rewrote the menu configuration and the responsive design.
In order to implement website search, we used the Tour Operator Search plugin. This is a search management and configuration plugin for the LSX Theme framework. Since The Safari Partners website uses the Tour Operator Plugin (a plugin that LightSpeed designed for the purpose of using it on tourism websites),Tour Operator Search was the perfect plugin to use.
The Trip Finder Functionality was implemented using a Trip Planner Add-on developed for Bootstrap Tourism. When users are looking for trips, they can use search filters on the side of the page. Users can filter tours by Price, Days, Comfort Styles, Interests, Travel Style and Countries. The home page also contains a “Let Us Help You Choose” section where users can find a trip based on three key adjectives that best describe what they are looking for in a Safari experience such as “Active, Grassroots, Wildlife” and so on.
Content elements for Accommodation and Tours were loaded from the Wetu Content System (an online solution for quality, up-to-date content gathered from the travel and tourism industry). LightSpeed created a WordPress Tour Importer that integrates with the Wetu Content System. We used this importer to bring in the content for Accommodation and Tours. Wetu does not provide any Destination information and therefore The Safari Partners had to provide us with content for the Destinations section of the website.
Lastly, we implemented the required Specials functionality with the Tour Operator Specials plugin. LightSpeed created training documentation for The Safari Partners to show them how to easily load their new specials and other website content.
The Safari Partners now owns a beautifully redesigned website that runs the most popular website content management system, WordPress. The website features new, up-to-date content from the Wetu Content System and users can easily find trips when using the search and filter functionalities.