Finding the perfect pitch with Haven’s app

Haven hero - full bleed

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!

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.”


Managing Director, Design & Technology UK

Lizzie Powell

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