Building an immersive experience for the leader in music festivals

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Tomorrowland is one of the world’s biggest EDM festivals. But in 2020, with the world locked down, it was uncertain whether this celebrated festival would take place. 

Find out how Dogstudio (part of DEPT®) helped Tomorrowland create the groundbreaking digital-only experience: Tomorrowland, Around the World.

An immersive experience brought to life 

Over two days, Tomorrowland fans from all around the world (one million people) immersed themselves in a magical world. Thanks to a WebGL experience made for both mobile and desktop, fans could attend their favorite sets from the comfort of their homes.

At any EDM festival, daytime and nighttime sets have different vibes, so we recreated that by designing and developing day mode and night mode. This made the festival feel as lifelike as possible, with set times aligning with a traditional music festival schedule. 

Now imagine an island filled with boats, lampoons, fishes, god rays, butterflies, and clouds. These whimsical elements were crucial to nail that magical feeling that Tomorrowland is known for.  

To delight visitors, we added several features to make the island feel alive, positioning all of them through a WYSIWYG editable spline system so that the Tomorrowland team could help us find the best placements.

Exploration & navigation 

During the festival, islanders freely roamed around the island by panning, zooming in/out, and clicking. But as for any festival, the people came for the music. By using a halo of lights displayed around the several stages, we represented the network of people around them, making them a part of the experience.

By clicking on the stages, islanders could find information about the location, stage, and lineup before entering the show. Once inside a stage, users were immediately dropped into a unique DJ performance integrated into the amazing 3D world created by Tomorrowland.

We love little details. That’s why made everything fully configurable through our GUI. We also added surprise fireworks to mark the end of the shows on the first day, just like an in-person festival. 

We’ve managed to translate the unique emotions of the festival into a digital experience.

Philippe Ben Mohamed, Lead Digital & Development, Tomorrowland


Viewers around the world, from Japan to Mexico


Different video recording studios built around the world


Of EDM’s most prominent artists performing their newest tracks


  • Creative Direction and Concept: Henry Daubrez
  • Lead producer: Sebastien Goffin
  • UX/UI Design: Camille Theveniau, Lorena Foucher & Henry Daubrez
  • 3D Simulation: Paul Guilhem Repaux
  • Lead Developer: Anthony Du Pont
  • Technical Direction: Anthony Du Pont & Samuel Honigstein (3D)
  • 3D Developer: Samuel Honigstein & Jordan Machado
  • Sound Engineering: Gimmi Pace
  • Video Music: Ocoeur – Overclock


CEO / CCO at Dogstudio

Henry Daubrez


Inspiring and entertaining fans all over the globe

2022 came with clear goals for Inter. After updating the brand identity and iconic crest, together with Bureau Borsche, this year was all about overhauling Inter’s digital channels. With football becoming increasingly more digital — from Esports to global fandom and all kinds of digital ownership — Inter is ready to take on a leading position. And so, the following question arose: ‘How can we make our digital channels relevant for a broader global target audience?’ DEPT® answered and led the strategy, design and development of the new app and website.


The key takeaways

How Inter uses their digital channels to grow the global fandom.

How Inter boosts sponsor activations.

How Inter connects the brand to culture.

Growing the global fandom

Football wouldn’t be football without the fans. And don’t the Nerazzuri know it. To cater to a global audience that might be interested in ‘more’ than football, we settled upon a new digital experience strategy with a focus on Milanese culture, players and stories. Content is truly king here. The same goes for Inter TV, which gives fans around the world access to a whole bunch of video content. Still, anything and everything match related is of course also available in the new Match Center, which comes with engagement features such as ‘Man of the match’. Last but not least, a differentiation is also applied into the channel strategy, with web focussing mainly on (international) sports fans whereas the app is really meant for the hardcore fans of the black and blues.

Fans can now follow Inter in a more immersive way through the website and app that have been renewed thanks to the valuable collaboration with DEPT®

Luca Danovaro, Chief Revenue Officer at FC Internazionale Milano


Boosting sponsor activations

The new website and app host a myriad of commercial opportunities for both Inter and their sponsors, partners and advertisers. These range from well-known options such as bannering and promotional slots, to more exclusive options such as dedicated microsites with custom immersive experiences that really put Inter’s key sponsors and partners in the spotlight. The first microsite was launched in early July to present the new 2022 kits together with Nike. Other than that, Inter’s digital channels make use of accounts behind a login that give access to Inter TV and unlock exclusive content and other benefits.

Connecting brand to culture

For Inter, football is one side. Culture is the other. So it comes as no surprise that culture gets a prominent spot in the channels. Players are pushed forward on culture pages, sharing their stories, interests and likes beyond football. With around 1 out of 5 fans more interested in the player than in the game (according to The European Football Benchmark 2021) there’s certainly a demand to fill here. In the future, Inter will expand their culture pages with a focus on (local) celeb fans and their love for Milan — making the global local.


Looking ahead

Just like on the field, in order to succeed digitally a great strategy is a must. That’s why all channels have dedicated roadmaps. These contain several future releases with new pages around collaborations and the Milanese culture, an ‘IM Premium’ account tier with even more content and benefits, special microsites with other sponsors, exclusive Inter NFTs and much more. The new digital channels are just the beginning of Inter’s commitment to becoming a leading club in terms of digital fan engagement and experience. Forza Inter!

FORZA INTER! Explore the website


UX Design & Research Lead

Franklin Schamhart

Co-op Live

An experiential website for a world-class venue

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The new Co-op Live will be one of the world’s premier music and entertainment venues, and one of the most socially responsible and sustainable venues in Europe when it opens. Being built in Manchester on the Etihad Campus, the purpose-built arena is a joint venture between Oak View Group (OVG) and City Football Group (CFG), and is backed by investment from international superstar Harry Styles. Ahead of its launch in 2023, Co-op Live appointed DEPT® to create an experiential website to digitally introduce the venue to the world.

A show-stopping web design

The Co-op Live website was designed to reflect the energy, excitement and dynamism that you experience when stepping into a live entertainment venue. We took the style guides and visual elements specified within Co-op Live’s brand guidelines to the max to create an eye-catching layout that displays content in a powerful way. 

Sharp, distinctive lines placed at a precise 30º angle, nodding to the architecture of the building, form unique geometric shapes and frame visual assets, while maintaining a cohesive grid to structure the user flow. For example, the video on the homepage is emphasised with angular lines, mirroring the corners of the arena with bold text scrolling across, instantly drawing attention in a similar way to how the physical venue’s smart ‘bowl’ design will bring fans in closer to the action. The sharp 30º angles recur throughout, visually dividing content blocks into sections, reinforcing calls to action, and creating buttons, animations, and geometric patterns. 


Built for everyone

Accessibility was of utmost priority throughout the design process and continued into development. The website had to comply with Co-op Live’s accessibility standards and align with the arena’s focus on creating a space for all to enjoy. It was important that people beginning their journey with Co-op Live were able to complete tasks on the website successfully, regardless of their access needs. Even more, our team set out to remove barriers to enhance all user experiences regardless of disabilities or situational limitations. We designed clear and consistent navigation options and paid extra attention to colour contrast, font sizes, spacing, how multimedia files are displayed, hover styles, overlapping elements, word choice, device optimisation, and more.

This first phase of the website was launched as a storytelling platform to communicate Co-op Live’s mission and values, the unique aspects of the venue, the building process, career opportunities, and teaser updates. To create hype leading up to the grand opening, we balanced creative flair with clarity, using simplistic and legible design concepts to make a statement. Our goal was to avoid information overload and incorporate alternative ways for users to digest content, so blocks of text were broken down with sufficient whitespace, displayed as lists, or incorporated into visuals and boxes.

Capturing the essence of live entertainment

Developing a scalable solution

We developed the building blocks for Co-op Live to scale its digital presence alongside the venue’s growth. The website was built using the React-based development framework Next.js to enable fast and flexible capabilities within JavaScript web applications. 

The technical team approached the architecture of the website with a JAMstack solution that combines JavaScript, reusable APIs, and prebuilt Markup to create a static website with dynamic capabilities. This strategy prioritises performance, security, and scalability by decoupling the front-end presentation layer from back-end functions, creating a solid base that can easily be augmented with additional functionality and microservices. Contentful, the cloud-native, headless CMS, was implemented as a future-ready solution for Co-op Live to manage dynamic content.

The dashboard was intuitively set up to empower the marketing team to configure new content modules and continue populating the platform with experiential, media-rich content. Push-button deployment moves content into production and will radically increase the velocity of fresh content Co-op Live can release without requiring development assistance. Within Contentful, Co-op Live will also be able to lead an omnichannel strategy across emerging technology platforms and traditional channels, such as social media, email and SMS.


An exciting journey ahead

From start to end, the entire first phase of the Co-op Live website was launched in just eight weeks. The web design was carefully crafted to embody Co-op as a brand and engage a wide audience, while the technical foundation was built to scale and drive performance. 

The headless architecture is an ideal vantage point for Co-op Live to continue building a bespoke, all-encompassing solution by combining best-of-breed platforms with specialised functionality. The future possibilities for Co-op Live to innovate across its digital platform are limitless.


Strategy Director

Lizzie Powell

Maximising data usage in European rail travel

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With a turnover of €90 million, is one of the largest online railway travel agencies in the Netherlands. sells Eurail and Interrail passes: the all-in-one train tickets that allow travellers to not only go wherever they want in Europe, but also whenever they want.

DEPT® was asked to optimise the customer journey performance for The ultimate goal? To define as the best known starting point for travellers to create a personalised and authentic European travel experience.

Two-sided challenge

Travelling through Europe is quite a considerable investment. Especially when you’re a non-European. Because these travellers have to arrange transport to Europe and accommodation for throughout the period that they are staying there. And also because of the budget they need for daily activities, food and drinks.

Transport within Europe is easy to arrange by purchasing one of the passes. But in the end, the overall journey costs a lot. For this reason, customers of show a relatively long orientation process. It could take up to two months before purchasing the passes.

It turned out that during this long orientation period, the target group of has different questions that are relevant to a specific moment in time. Therefore, the target group needs different content at these specific moments. When the targeted customer is provided with the right content at the right time, the overall customer journey will eventually optimise.

DEPT® was tasked with addressing this two-sided challenge:

  • How to be as relevant as possible at all times? (high relevance = high performance)
  • How to show the added value of all the channels in the customer journey to optimise resources accordingly?

To address it, we turned data into insights and used our very own customer journey mapping model to optimise the customer journey performance of

With this model we were better able to validate performance and actively test new hypotheses for each step in the funnel by getting insights and steering on the right KPIs matching the phase. The figure below explains and defines our model.

Different journey phases containing different behavioural data

Customers in different phases show specific behaviour in terms of consuming content and have different needs in their orientation process. Based on behavioural data, we divided the digital user experience into 7 unique phases, ranging from awareness to post-purchase. We perfectly serve the needs of each phase with matching messages in the different communication channels and with KPIs matching those phases. The primary goals of the campaigns for each different phase is to help the customer further and help them to the next step in the customer journey.

Providing inspiration is the first step towards engagement. Not with static images, but with the help of smart interactive banners and videos. After the awareness phase we serve personal content with dynamic remarketing banners to be as relevant as possible. In the attract and convince phases we use audience segmentation for both SEA and dynamic retargeting. The expected return based on behaviour is used to set bids and messaging in the ads. For post-purchase/pre-travel, social media and email marketing is used to re-engage with the customers.

With these insights we’ve been able to determine which campaigns, channels and messages perform best in helping the audience in their orientation process for each different phase. We actively tested different messages and call to actions in the different phases.

Added value

In short: the insights we obtained from our customer mapping model allowed us to optimise our SEA campaigns as follows.

First, we could personalise content based on behavioural data (both in ads and on site). Second, we could get insights in added value of channels. Which helped us in effective budget allocation per campaign, and in effective messaging in added value of upper funnel/non-branded campaigns (where volumes are high, but last click attribution to sales is low). Ultimately, we could set KPIs matching the phases.


  • Increased success rate of SEA campaigns from 14% to 22%
  • Increased conversions rate of SEA campaigns from 1.83% to 2.32%
  • Increased conversions rate of the site from 0.57% to 0.82%
  • Increased overall CTR from 13.41% to 14.99%
  • Increased success rate of more than +12%, which ultimately led to more than 5.000 pass page views in January 2018!


Director of Data, CRO & Insights

Matt Lacey

La Surfería

Learning to surf from anywhere in the world

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La Surfería is a travel and lifestyle company based in Argentina that invites travellers to experience the true surf lifestyle. The company specialises in surf trips that offer lessons from well-known professionals and accommodations in prime surf locales across Brazil and Argentina. DEPT® worked with Argentina-based startup La Surfería to design and build a mobile app that that makes learning to surf and traveling to exotic surfing destinations more accessible to all surfers regardless of location or experience level.

Project background

La Surfería wants everyone to fall in love with surfing, even if they don’t live anywhere close to the ocean. Traditionally the company has focused on creating travel experiences for surfers, but they wanted to find more ways to reach people. How could they still give the experience of learning to surf to those who can’t access it easily? Through a mobile app, of course. In 2020 travel also slowed down considerably due to the pandemic. This was even more reason to create an immersive digital experience that could bring surfing back into people’s lives even if they were stuck at home.

La Surfería came to DEPT® for help in designing and building an app that would help more people experience the amazing beaches of Argentina and Brazil, and the magic of learning to surf from some of the country’s best professionals. Like many small businesses, the company had a big vision but a fixed budget. So we needed to work together to find the best solution.

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DEPT® found a way to understand our vision and make it real while also giving us a new revenue source. They helped us transform into the first company that has a real surf app.

– Francisco Morea, Founder

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Delivering a great user experience with React Native

The DEPT® team in Argentina quickly got to work with the La Surfería team to bring this vision to life. Initially, we discussed building a website instead of an app, but based on the user experience the company was looking to provide (similar to the immersive experience of a fitness app), we decided to build a React Native app. This way we could easily deploy across Android and iOS more easily. And we could deliver a great user experience but without building a much more expensive native app experience.

We worked with the team to define a vision of a Netflix-like experience for users. where they could browse through surfing instruction videos, watch professional surfers in action, and even watch videos about what it’s like to travel to the company’s hostels and the type of food you would expect to experience while you are there. In addition to videos, the app also needed to have modules for sharing content and news about surfing, tips for training/fitness/nutrition for aspiring surfers, and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to book a future surf trip through the app.

As we began to design and build the app, we had to address how to store and deliver the videos. So we partnered with Mux to use the Mux Video API, which instantly creates the right renditions for every device and bandwidth, resulting in lower costs and better viewers experiences. We also created some features within the app that are exclusive to paid users, giving La Surfería the ability to monetize the app in the future. We integrated in-app purchasing capabilities through iOS and Android, as well as built a separate web-based flow for Argentinians to be able to pay through Mercado Pago, which is a local payment market. This allows people from all over the world to pay through their local currency.

The app was launched into the iOS and Google App Stores in early 2021 and has been well received so far. Users are enjoying the content and tutorials and signing up for subscriptions to get access to even more. Early feedback from users will lead to the next wave of new features to be added to the app in the coming months.

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Head of Marketing US

Kristin Cronin

Formula E

Building, accelerating, and reinventing racing

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A century-old sport, reinvented: silent, without CO2 emissions and circuits in the middle of the city – Formula E offers unique experiences, both offline and online. Brands such as Michelin, BMW, Heineken, and Boss have already linked their name to the increasingly popular motorsport, while the young fanbase is quickly expanding. Fans, who from now on, can get even closer to their favourite driver via the brand-new app, in which smart race data, innovative Augmented Reality solutions and a live race centre come together.

Racing, reinvented

Given that Formula E is 100% electric, this opens the door to previously unknown possibilities thanks to new technology. One such possibility allows spectators to play an active role in the race’s outcome by boosting their favourite driver’s racing car during the race through an online voting system. This so-called ‘FanBoost’ grants more horsepower by the number of fans a driver has. Now that’s innovative engagement 2.0. And it doesn’t stop there, because, in the race of the future, you are closer to your sport than ever before. The Formula E app gives you everything you need for a top-of-the-line race day experience. Check where famous artists are performing, virtually race against your favourite drivers in race simulators, follow live qualifications and get the latest news and important developments at any time throughout the day’s event.

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Augmented reality and a live race centre come together

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Tribe building

On the platform, both brands and events surrounding the day’s racing along with fan engagement meet in a single integrated experience. In this digital world of motorsport, it’s all about socials and influencers, but live interaction is an equally important part of the sport. The app supports this concept through tribe building, a means which enables visitors to slowly develop into real fans. The focus here is on personal and contextual touch points in which sponsored brands are also relevant in the moment. Think of live race reports, tracking board radios and accident updates.

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Power of data

Apart from the fact that the app enriches the fans with information along with an entertaining experience, the platform is also smart. It adapts to varying circumstances since race days are dynamic, different in every city and change yearly. Therefore, DEPT® developed a feature – linked to Google Maps – that adjusts every year. It informs people about where they are, what they can do and how they can get somewhere. Making the app always up to date and relevant. In addition, the app makes it easy for potential fans to indulge in Formula E knowledge: What exactly is so interesting? Who are the heroes? What are their rankings? And what is so different from our well-known Formula 1?

Smart data, full experience, social updates, contact with drivers and event information are seamlessly integrated; from the moment you decide to buy a ticket, up until race day, and up to the moment you return home satisfied.

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Roadmap to the future

Innovation is key, but the app’s development is merely a starting point for Formula E. As we speak, a larger, integrated platform supplemented with a website, is in the making. The development roadmap also includes the integration of Augmented Reality. Meaning further improvement of impressive experience features, such as the possibility to display both the racing cars and drivers in 3D, as well as the ability to virtually follow the race from each driver’s track position. All the while Artificial Intelligence thinks about possible outcomes of the race, which it discusses with you through the use of a conversational UI.

What’s next?

Formula E is more than a racing series. The knowledge gained on the circuit helps to make our already reliable electric cars even better, smarter and more beautiful. We are excited to be contributing to this via the developed super app, which will be extended even further with an all-encompassing website. Ultimately, we’re providing one global experience that brings all aspects of the Formula E race together. Not just for modern fans, but also for the race teams and the innovative brands connected to the motorsport – unique in today’s sports world. We are proud of this!


Global SVP Technology & Engineering

Jonathan Whiteside

GE Lighting

Rolling out one coherent website worldwide

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The professional division of General Electric, GE Lighting, required a standardised, global digital platform to lower costs, improve quality and reduce time to market. The fragmented infrastructure model caused duplicated effort, high costs, lack of consistency and slow response times, all of which were preventing the business from communicating effectively with their global audience. DEPT® entered the game to develop an integrated platform, combining central control with local flexibility.

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Centralised infrastructure

Switching GE Lighting from a fragmented to a centralised digital infrastructure model meant consolidating regional processes, tools and development. Our objective was to ensure that brand consistency and local needs would be met by developing a solution that would enable the easy and efficient sharing of localised content, and re-usable rich media. This all resulted in a global platform, to support fourteen consistent websites.

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Seeing the light, with a new, flexible and integrated platform

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The result

We managed the global rollout to thirteen countries, across four continents, in nine languages. By bringing disparate systems together into a single, global platform, GE Lighting has benefitted from reduced operational costs and an increase in efficiency. It can now utilise consistent, reusable global assets, templates and processes, which has the added benefit of ensuring consistency across the organisation, and aiding localisation. The project was recognised at a GE group level, with the internal team receiving an award for the project.


Head of Back End Development

Andrew Blyth

Ascot Racecourse

An experience like nowhere else

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Famous for its ties to the Royal Family and rich history of hosting world-class horse racing tournaments, Ascot is a legacy brand in the equestrian community. Since 1711, the iconic racecourse has evolved into two, year-round race tracks, a popular filming location and focal point for hospitality. Royal Ascot is Britain’s most popular race meeting, with £7.3m in prize money and welcoming 300,000 racegoers across five days each year.

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Transforming brand perception

Ascot Racecourse came to DEPT® with a unique challenge; they had a best-in-class venue with global brand recognition, but their digital presence was far behind where they wanted it to be. With years of legacy content, functionality and an overwhelming amount information, our teams took on the challenge of completely reconstructing the Ascot online experience.

This involved redefining Ascot’s digital brand positioning with the release of a new website. The platform captures the vibrancy and dynamism of the racecourse, whilst delivering website visitors with a clear guide to the venue etiquette. An exploratory online experience is achieved through sleek user-journeys, seamlessly integrating with Ascot’s back-of-house systems and infrastructure, whilst providing a stunning website experience.

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Unlocking the Ascot digital experience

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Conceptualising a digital estate

A high-level of preparation was carried out to devise a plan of action, which radically repositioned the brand offering to focus on the lifestyle aspect of this world-renowned sports brand.

Over a 10-week period, DEPT® led a series of discovery, UX and branding workshops with Ascot to fully understand the market they operate in,  and to pinpoint opportunities based on their position within it. This involved drilling down into Ascot Racecourse’s target personas to identify who they are, what they’re looking for, and what their pain points are, in order to map their key, on-site journeys. Based on this research, DEPT® comprehensively wireframed the optimum site structure for the platform, taking into consideration the research and recommendations from our SEO and CRO teams.

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Image is everything

The revamped Ascot website harnesses the enchanting experience a visit to the racecourse encompasses, through embedding the fashion, flare and excitement with a compelling, memorable and highly engaging user experience. The imagery on the site are editorial-style images of people enjoying the different parts of the venues such as drinking champagne, cheering at the races, eating in groups or on dates or laughing in the kids’ corners. This brings Ascot’s value offerings to the surface and visually demonstrates the broad appeal and openness of the venue which, in turn, has driven commercial results.

A taste of class was instilled site-wide, bringing the opulence of Ascot’s hospitality offering forward through intelligent design. DEPT® adopted the Ascot brand guidelines in a modern, fresh way that attracts new patrons, yet is still recognisable, to ensure the site maintains popularity among its loyal, long-standing guests. The font, colours, layout and content structure of the website nods to royalty, with blues, subtle animations, clean white space, picture-led content, clear call-to-actions, and smooth user-journeys.

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Capturing the glamour of the race day experience

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Information at your fingertips

Data, insight and Ascot’s objectives of expanding its hospitality venues and broadening its consumer base inspired the content hierarchy and user journeys on the new website. Findings from our research indicated that there was a lot of uncertainty for people contemplating attending an event at Ascot, which ultimately prevented them from booking. For example, users were concerned about parking, dress codes, and how the weather affects the day.  Helpful guides were created and incorporated within the homepage design to clearly communicate this information. Likewise, the ‘Plan Your Day’ feature was redefined to bring key details to the forefront that were previously buried across the platform, feeding users relevant information and creating upselling opportunities through tailored packages.

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Creating a slick mobile experience

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Engaging mobile experience

With digital becoming increasingly mobile-led, it was essential to create a website that presents the Ascot brand in a visually impactful way. Due to the sheer size and amount of images, our team optimised the code and files extensively for speed and performance, ensuring it is fully responsive and performs excellently across all devices.

In taking a robust mobile-first approach, the UX and CRO teams worked closely with Ascot to audit and condense their online information from thousands to hundreds of pages, and structured the sitemap to tailor to audience personas. In the process of refocusing the website on the experience of attending the races, industry-specific content was minimised. Key content pages such as the Royal Ascot Style Guide, information on the four enclosures and the ‘Plan Your Day’ sections, were fully restructured and optimised for mobile viewing to ensure customers can discover and enjoy the content, wherever they are.

In the design, DEPT® moved Ascot away from a top-heavy ‘mega-nav’ to a mobile friendly ‘hamburger’ menu with an expandable secondary bottom navigation for users to search for racedays. The website modules were designed for mobile users and include more prominent calls to action. Extensive user testing was carried out with focus-groups, with equal weight given to mobile and desktop usage prior to launch.


Conversion rate increase


Online revenue growth


Growth in mobile transactions


The relaunch was a huge success, providing Ascot with a solid foundation to grow their digital presence. The new website was released during a key sales period for Royal Ascot, and recorded exceptional results that far exceeded the goals Ascot initially set for DEPT®.

As a result of digitally repositioning Ascot through the new website launch, ticket sales and revenue increased which was a prime objective for the undertaking. These statistics were taken from the first six weeks after launch:

  • 21.32% year-on-year increase in revenue generated through the platform
  • 41% year-on-year increase in e-Commerce conversion rate 
  • 22% year-on-year increase in transactions
  • 22% year-on-year increase in the quantity of items purchased
  • 2.11% year-on-year increase in organic traffic, despite more than a 90% reduction in live pages on the platform.
  • 26.38% year-on-year increase in average session duration

The improvements made to Ascots mobile experience has been instrumental in driving conversions:

  • 54% increase in transactions via mobile
  • 41% increase in revenue generated through mobile transactions
  • 50% increase e-commerce conversion rate on mobile
  • Average session duration on mobile increased by 26% year-on-year 
  • Improved user experience with average pages viewed on path-to-purchase reduced by 20% year on year 
  • 10% increase in the number of visitors to the Raceday Fixtures page
  • +1.5 million views of ‘What to Wear’ content pages
  • The ‘Plan Your Day’ section saw a 147% increase in page views 

Ascot and DEPT® have a longstanding partnership, collaborating on various projects involving design, UX, web and mobile app development, through to digital marketing campaigns. As one of the UK’s most long-standing brands, our teams value the opportunity to work alongside their in-house team to uphold their digital estate and innovate how digital is activated across their channels.


Executive Creative Director

Jake Welsh


Finding the perfect pitch with Haven’s app

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Haven owns and operates 37 family holiday parks in the UK, providing caravans, touring and camping facilities in coastal locations, filled with activities and entertainment for all ages. Haven is part of Bourne Leisure Ltd, which also owns Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlin’s. Founded over forty years ago, Bourne Leisure is now the largest, privately-owned holiday operator in the UK. Haven turned to DEPT® to build a web-based application that would enable holidaymakers to pick their perfect caravan pitch.


Pick your pitch

Haven’s goal for this project was to create an application that would improve its guests’ experience by enabling them to select a pitch of their choice. Previously, pitches were assigned upon arrival, so Haven identified this excellent opportunity and turned to DEPT®.

Choose Your Holiday Home (CYHH) is a web-based application for users who have already booked a holiday with Haven. The aim of the application is to offer the holidaymaker the chance to pick their own caravan pitch, or upgrade their current booking for an additional fee.

The application uses Google Maps API and adds layers of artwork onto the map to help display the Haven park in detail. Users can see where points of interest are such as activities, food and facilities. You can also take a look inside the caravans that are available, to help users to choose a location that suits them best. CYHH helps to ensure that Haven customers have one less thing to think about as they prepare for their trip.

DEPT® designed and built a brand-new user interface (UI) for the app. To keep things modern, DEPT® opted to use Google Maps instead of the custom maps previously used. The image carousel for the caravans has been upgraded to be more detailed and engaging.

With a large number of customers visiting the app via their mobile devices (but not necessarily converting), the focus of the latest phase of work was been on mobile acquisition; through improved usability, the number of caravan bookings via mobile is increasing, and is now the largest channel for conversion.


Park map and photo gallery are customers’ favourite features

An ambitious development of a web-based app

The CYHH application is currently being piloted for three parks, with plans for it to be rolled out to a further 34 parks. The future roadmap includes multi-unit bookings, ability to leave reviews and ‘travel with’ functionality, which will enable groups of holidaymakers staying in multiple caravans to find eachother’s booking and pick adjacent plots. Multi-Booking ties into this too, enabling a user to pick the plots for multiple caravan bookings.


A pitch perfect solution

By allowing guests to view a map of the parks, the users are able to find the perfect pitch for their holiday. The application uses responsive design so is available across all devices. There is evidence of this based on the mix of device based conversion rates since inception.

Additionally, DEPT® has also built a front-end system that isn’t dependent on a back end and can use any API. Not only does this make the application future-proof and easy to extend, it also helps us to maintain the product. This can lead to future enhancements such as widgets, mobile apps, reality, street view and satellite images. This will significantly increase the customer’s experience in the future.

As mentioned, Haven is now using the Google Map API which has opened up possibilities to using more functionality such as virtual reality, street view and satellite images. This can significantly increase the customer’s experience in the future!

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Google Map API enables exciting functionality

Working with a retained team

Haven works with a retained team at DEPT® who focus solely on this project, comprising Front End Developers, Business Analysts, UX Designers, Quality Assurance consultants and a Product Owner. Haven benefits from working with a team that has accrued in-depth knowledge of the project, with the ability to quickly deliver for the client. The retained team follow agile delivery principals, delivering work in two-week sprint cycles.

Connecting with customers

The success of the CYHH application can be measured in two ways: the total money made by the application, and the number of successful bookings.

The value for the application is found within the number of bookings themselves. The +400 bookings made via the app in the first few weeks of launch demonstrates that there is a large demand for this post-booking service.

With an additional 34 parks due to go live in the future, the monetary and business value attached to the project is likely to increase dramatically.

In the six months since the project went live, the team gathered a large amount of customer feedback from HotJar polls, recordings and heatmaps. Taking the feedback on board and listening to what Haven’s customer’s want from the app has led to consistent, iterative improvements. These have seen the app’s net promoter score increase by over 30 points. With further improvements planned before launching across the additional 34 parks, it’s likely that the app will reach the highest bracket of net promoter scoring.

The team that DEPT® assembled were outstanding in both ability, energy and enthusiasm. The results have been outstanding with some of the fastest time-to-market results we have ever seen, and we now work with a combination of quick agile deliveries combined with a much longer horizon back-log,” says Neil Hobbs, IT Director, Haven. “The DEPT® team are also instrumental in our test & learn approach, helping validate the success or otherwise of the minor tweaks we make.”


Strategy Director

Lizzie Powell


Exploring the Chinese advertising market with WeChat

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In recent years, the number of outbound Chinese travellers has rapidly grown. The Netherlands has become one of their most popular destinations while simultaneously acting as a gateway to other countries. These developments opened up opportunities for KLM who wanted to increase their visibility in China through brand awareness and engagement with their Chinese followers on WeChat. In collaboration with DEPT®, KLM has successfully mastered this goal.

The project

KLM aims to be where their customers are. Given that WeChat is the biggest and most widely used app in the Chinese market, that’s where the airline decided to expand its presence, increase their campaign offers and eventually build brand presence. For KLM that meant using the multi-purpose social media and messaging app to offer Chinese passengers the best digital service, brand content & innovation and commercial offers to eventually attract more followers. In order to do so, both KLM and DEPT® created a year-around campaign on WeChat.

Expanding while staying true to their caring nature

Growing visibility

KLM aims to become one of the most visible airlines amongst the numerous western airline companies present in China. Using WeChat to achieve this goal was a logical step which matched their digital strategy. At the same time, they worked on a clearer position in the industry as one of the most caring airlines as well as maintaining a close customer relationship by providing practical information and services to their existing customers as well as potential future consumers.

A caring nature

This is where DEPT® supported KLM. The digital agency started by analysing past post performances along with studying KLM’s key brand values. After comparing the analysis outcomes with current post performances, DEPT® came up with approachable yet funny content with a more social tone of voice all the while keeping KLM’s biggest selling point in mind, their ‘caring’ nature. Following the content revamp, this character was captured by WeChat follower and nicknamed: ‘Da Lan’ or ‘Big Blue’. And this exactly symbolises the further establishment and maintenance of the ‘close friends’ customer relationship KLM seeks.

Regarding organic content, DEPT® came up with topics that demonstrate KLM’s key values all the while hooking the curious Chinese readers. The next step was tailoring the structure, the writing style and word use towards the tastes of Chinese social media users. In order to achieve a higher click-through rate, a funny and strong outer-layer copy was adopted to evoke the audiences’ curiosity about the long copy.

The target audience

The audience was targeted based on two criteria. First, the ‘golden age’ audience between the ages of 20 to 45 was targeted through moment advertising. Then, the two collaborating parties filtered the audience based on their geographical area with the core cities of Beijing and Shanghai as well as the key cities of Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen being the main focus areas within the Chinese market. Moreover, the locations with flight routes operated by KLM were kept in mind when targeting, in order to keep the ad relevant. Besides KLM’s original branding and sales campaigns, part of the budget was spent on pushing well-performing organic posts to attract new followers.

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Among the airline companies operating in the Chinese market, KLM now boasts some of the highest view numbers for their organic content (10K-15K per post). At the same time, their ‘caring’ key value has started to root itself in the hearts of Chinese social media users’, and has quickly become a first-order association in their mind. Besides receiving a lot of positive comments on the WeChat platform, some of the results have been quantified:

  • 4 organic posts reached 670K+ people and generated 36K views p.m.
  • Daily organic growth of 200+ new followers.
  • Every ‘moment ad’ brought 500-2000 new followers.

What’s next?

In December 2018, DEPT® conducted another round of KOL campaigns on KLM’s WeChat. With a budget of 6,4K, the agency worked with 4 KOL’s in total and observed positive results, in terms of reach(410K), view number(63K), view-rate(15,78%), user engagement(741 likes, 148 comments and 145 user photos), follower conversion as well as cost-effectiveness.

Besides continuing with current content planning of organic posts and moment advertising, DEPT® is also running a long-term KOL campaign to increase brand awareness and contribute to the follower growth and brand presence on WeChat.


Strategy Director

Lizzie Powell

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