Superb online ski experience at Snowworld.com

Organisation
Flink
The case
Category
Design / UX
Client
SnowWorld
Summary
Flink has created an attractive online platform—scalable and expandable for global use—for Snowworld.com, European market leader in indoor skiing. With SnowWorld’s team, we designed an online ski experience to activate potential clients and convert them into happy visitors. The website supports all online sales flows within an online presence perfectly suited for the energetic and dynamic brand.
Project description
SnowWorld in a Nutshell
SnowWorld is a household name in the world of indoor snow skiing. The indoor ski slopes located in Amsterdam, Zoetermeer, Landgraaf, Terneuzen, Rucphen and Neuss (DE), are utilized by over 3 million visitors every year. Moreover, the enterprise has concrete plans to roll out this successful concept across Europe, in cities like Milan, Barcelona and Paris. This imminent expansion of activities created the desire to further increase the prominence of the SnowWorld brand. The message: SnowWorld is a complete, high-quality and customer-oriented ski experience.

Flink as a Digital Partner
SnowWorld sought to partner with a company well-versed in digital solutions which could create an entirely new and easily expandable online platform. This platform was to seamlessly connect the company's online presence to the real-life ski experience offered on SnowWorld's indoor, real snow ski slopes. In addition, the online platform was to serve as the main sales channel for ski passes, equipment rental and hotel stays, as well as for tickets to all of the company's subsidiary business activities. Examples of these subsidiary lines of business are a climbing park, snow racing carts, and indoor skydiving. Due to SnowWorld's international ambitions, the ability to upscale the platform for use by locations across the globe was a must. Devising such a platform, in short, constituted a substantial but welcome challenge for Flink.

Scalable Online Platform
Flink has created a flexible, scalable online platform for SnowWorld. For each individual SnowWorld location, the platform offers a unique website with its own products and activities, special offers and virtual ticket booth. As a result, visitors are directly able to find the information they need, whether it relates to the ski slopes in Zoetermeer, those in Landgraaf, or overall information about the entire SnowWorld corporation. Because we built the platform using Drupal 8 Multisite, additional websites for new locations or subsidiary business activities can be added in no time. Such an approach proves ideal for a corporation with ambitious goals for international growth like SnowWorld.

Online Ski Experience
A lovely glide down the long slopes, a hot cup of cocoa at the Berghütte (chalet), a bite to eat at one of the bistros and restaurants, and a bit of après ski fun at the café—at SnowWorld, visitors can have the authentic ski resort experience in their own country! With the launch of the new platform, this "real ski trip feel" is no longer exclusive to SnowWorld's indoor slopes; the atmosphere can also be enjoyed at Snowworld.com. The strong concept draws visitors in to enjoy the ski resort experience as soon as they access the website. Each location is presented online as a "real" ski resort. Each location's site presents visitors with real-time weather information, ins and outs of each of the slopes, information about opening hours and livestreams of the indoor slopes covered in real snow.

Flexible System
With the use of paragraphs, we have been able to create a very flexible CMS. This system offers SnowWorld the ability to adapt and organize each individual website according to the company's current and future needs. The flexibility of the system is ideal for easy content management. In addition, the system offers locations several tools that allow them to use attractive visuals and video content. Furthermore, the system makes it quick and easy to highlight new arrangements and special offers, which contributes to the activation of potential visitors and increasing the company's sales. The results speak for themselves: after only 6 months of use, the website's use is up by over 20%.

Online Ticket Sales Doubled
In addition to creating an inspiring platform, we have integrated a system to enable sales flow within each of the websites. In order to enable all sales, we developed entirely custom solutions which enable clients to purchase ski passes, rent equipment, book hotel stays and buy tickets for the full range of additional activities offered by each of the locations. We also created specific sales flows for special offers and arrangements. Realtime linking to SnowWorld’s back office systems ensures that all online orders are processed on the spot. This means that skiers can immediately access the slopes using their digital ski passes generated within Drupal. And, if they like, they can even have their schnitzel and fries ready for them in the bistro afterwards!

Because we created custom sales flows, visitors can enjoy an optimal user experience. The pay-off of this approach was evident from the moment the website went live: within a few weeks, online ticket sales doubled! For 2019, SnowWorld’s aim is to grow online sales from 5 to 50 percent of the total sales. So far, so good!

Proud and Inspired
We at Flink are very proud of the end result and happy to have found such a valuable and inspiring collaboration partner in the SnowWorld team. Responses from content managers have been very positive overall, especially regarding the flexibility of the CMS system. We are also more than satisfied with the numbers we have seen so far. We are inspired to continue to optimize the online platform over the next few months.
Challenges
React Ticket Flow with Headless Drupal
One of the great challenges this project presented was the enrichment of data sourced from the back-office systems. Initially, those data merely consisted of product names and prices, which was insufficient to realize optimal ticket flow. In order to solve this problem, we used Drupal to build a system to enrich and categorize the data. Now, content managers can easily add appealing headers, product descriptions, before-and-after prices and special deal labels as well as images and even entire product categories. These things are possible not only for the sales flow of ski passes and related products, but also for hotel bookings.

We have also created a smart solution for linking the selected ski passes to rental material. This means that customers who have selected ski passes for adults are only able to select rental equipment that is appropriate for adults, and customers buying ski passes for children are automatically directed to child-appropriate equipment. This linkage diminishes the number of incorrect orders and thus lowers the work load for service desk personnel. Content management of ticket flows is executed in a headless part of the CMS. This allows us to build these flows in React (+ Redux) from beginning to end, which ensures a seamless user experience.
Community contributions
Lazy Loading Image Field Formatter
In this project, we used Lazy Loading Images to provide optimal performance. In our view, smooth performance is a must for a website like Snowworld.com, which largely depends on attractive visuals. In order to realize a fast but errorproof system, we developed a module we have dubbed the Lazy Loading Image Field Formatter. This module enables us to turn Lazy Loading on or off by simply checking or unchecking a box within the Drupal core media module. The Lazy Loading java script is then automatically loaded onto the desired pages and the Lazy Loading classes are automatically placed in the correct location in html. We will add this module to the Drupal Community in the nearby future.
Screenshot