The Safari Partners is a Canadian tour operator company focused on providing safari tour packages 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”. Since LightSpeed built the company website in 2015, the company’s offerings had expanded. Added to this, the global pandemic’s effect on the travel and hospitality sectors meant that when travel resumed in 2022, a website refresh was required to incorporate the company’s current range of tour itinerary offerings, in combination with a logo and branding redesign.
Providing a full-service offering meant that the updated version of the company website would need to guide the user through a wide selection of options, based on a country, region, or specific interest.
To provide this step-by-step guidance, as well as deeper content about the company’s history, team and ethos, a simple but effective search wizard was required. Custom illustrations were also needed to provide visual cues which support the tone and voice throughout all interfaces. In refining the search functionality, key personas of 5 customer types needed to be identified, with options based on the selections made then generated to guide the user in finding their ideal safari package.
As The Safari Partners’ existing website was built on the Joomla content management system, LightSpeed set up a WordPress installation for the new website and migrated blog content for the “News” section of their website. This was followed by proceeding with design, consisting of a couple of templates based on their current website whilst referencing travel industry standard websites to inform design ideas. Added to the template designs were illustrated elements such as icons and a Safari Shaman which were aligned with the new logo and branding redesign. The design components were then supported by the generation of fresh and relevant content for all elements of the website, making for eye-catching and easy to understand navigation which communicated the offerings clearly and succinctly, guiding users to select their ideal safari itineraries. In achieving the development of the design elements, InVision was used as an online collaboration tool, enabling the LightSpeed team to communicate with the client directly on the design template in an online, interactive format.
In developing the website’s functionality, a wide range of supporting solutions were brought together. These included the Tour Operator plugin, which LightSpeed designed for use on tourism websites, which was the perfect plugin to use with Tour Operator Search. Trip Finder functionality was implemented using a Trip Planner Add-on developed for the Bootstrap Tourism theme. Content elements for accommodation and tours were loaded from the Wetu Content System using a WordPress Tour Importer created by LightSpeed that integrates with Wetu. Using Wetu, the company owner is now able to manage all his tour, accommodation and destination content within the Wetu system and import all content into the website in a simple, easy-to-use manner.
With Tours being the primary reason for users to visit the site, and with the majority of visitors making use of tablets, there was a need for both Scheduled Tours and Tailored Tours to be optimised. This was achieved by optimising Tours for both phones and tablets, with these swiping left and right to display various Tour itinerary info. Lastly, to implement the required Specials functionality, the Tour Operator Specials plugin was used, and LightSpeed created training documentation that provided the clients’ team with guidance on how to easily load new specials and other website content.
The result of this significant redevelopment was a beautifully redesigned website that features new, up-to-date content and guides users to find safari packages using search and filter functionalities that are easy to understand, and look great.