Parkdean Resorts

Digital Partnership delivering transformative change.

Parkdean Resorts owns and operates 66 holiday parks across England, Scotland and Wales and is the UK’s largest holiday park operator. Their digital estate comprises support for holiday bookings, holiday home sales, self service booking changes and on-park information. The Parkdean platform serves huge numbers of customers, and delivers more than £100m in revenue for the business.

The company has a strong focus on customer experience, striving to offer the best possible holiday from booking to departure, for people holidaying on their parks, and those owning or seeking to buy caravans and lodges.

The company is forward thinking, and runs an internal digital delivery centre of excellence, creating and delivering a customer-first roadmap, and answering to a Customer Experience Board.

At Shout, we act as Parkdean’s digital partner, working in blended squads with their own digital experts. We work closely with Parkdean’s team to rapidly research, solution and deliver the best-in-class experiences that their customers expect and need.

The Challenge.

 

Parkdean has a range of business critical systems at the heart of customer experience – from research and booking, pre-arrival and on-park experience. Customers needed to be supported with a cohesive user journey from both a holiday booking, and a holiday home ownership perspective.

Parkdean team had an ambitious programme roadmap of digital transformation, integrating previously disparate services, removing monolithic legacy platforms, and bringing to life an ambitious vision in a competitive environment.

The internal Digital Centre of Excellence was delivering great things, but with a need to keep ‘business as usual’ systems highly functioning during a staycation boom, simultaneously delivering transformative change projects, the team needed expert external support.

Parkdean were seeking a digital partner who could get deeply embedded with their vision, and bring additional skills and expertise to complement and augment the internal team. An organisation who would both work closely alongside their people, but also be able to lead on questions of deep technical knowledge and best practice, all informed by a CX and therefore commercial focus.

The Approach.

Blended Squads for deep integration 

We started our journey with Parkdean in 2015, initially as one of several trusted technology delivery partners, executing briefs for a range of digital projects. As the ambition of the programme and Parkdean’s own internal technical capability evolved, we have evolved our ways of working together, to get closer to their business and allow the delivery of a greater volume of work.

A project-to-project model had delivered some impactful change, but by 2021 the start/stop that a project model naturally entails was holding back progress. Our teams worked together to develop a new model for engagement, avoiding some of the pitfalls of a start/stop project model.

Today, we work as blended squads with Parkdean’s own people, providing technical architecture and project management support alongside a range of software engineering and UX specialists to support their programme of change.

Each product-focussed squad is responsible for deeply understanding the specific needs of a customer in a particular phase of their Parkdean journey, and for delivering technology enabled experiences to support those needs.

Work is delivered using an Agile methodology, working in rapid cycles of discovery, prioritising work packages by customer experience measures, and with a continuous product optimisation mindset.

This rapid development programme is underpinned by a robust technology approach, from application design, to infrastructure and integrations.

This set up means we have the flexibility to deploy our people where they will best support Parkdean, without the usual project ramp up and onboarding process.

Work Streams Delivered

Migration of digital estate from Sitecore 9 to Sitecore 10

Migration from on-premise hosting to a modern, scalable cloud infrastructure

Architect and build the infrastructure to support new Sitecore 10 estate

Strategise, architect and build AIS (Azure Integration Services) platform, providing the middleware, integrations and microservices underpinning a modern Sitecore estate.

Lead on Sitecore best practice and how this is balanced with commercial reality

Provide technical and process input across the programme roadmap

Continuous Improvement 

Alongside more transformative work packages are Continuous improvements workstreams for each of Parkdean’s digital services, to make sure the ‘little tasks’ of keeping a complex digital estate in optimum condition can be completed, without distracting from more ambitious and transformative projects. With customers across the lifecycle depending on digital – it’s important ‘Business as Usual’ functions at a high level whilst transformations take shape.

Mini Case Study

UX review

A user-centred approach was taken to review and redesign the layout of the website for improved conversion, including the homepage, booking user journey and basket. By A/B testing alternative designs with user groups before releasing to production. Changes were pre-validated to have a positive impact on the user experience

The Outcome.

Like many businesses, Parkdean had a powerful web platform that supported much of their business, but as the platform had grown and extended over time, the user journey was not always seamless. The underlying technology was relatively monolithic, meaning that routine system maintenance could cause disruption across the estate.

Their digital centre of excellence, supported by the Shout team has been able to bring a new focus on delivering robust, secure and delightful experiences with the customer at their heart.

Today’s Parkdean digital estate is stable and performant, generating £100m in online revenue, and 40m website sessions each year. The easy-to-use Sitecore web platform has delivered impressive ROI for the business and stayed robust during peak times, including unprecedented trends through the pandemic. The whole thing is underpinned by a modern, API-driven architecture, meaning rapid transfer of data between systems and the individual components can be updated without widespread impact on service availability.

"The team totally get the Parkdean business from a commercial point of view and have turned that understanding into vast improvements in the customer journey. They are a ‘straight down the line’ company."

Neil Hope, Technology & Change Director at Parkdean Resorts

By working in blended squads with Parkdean’s own team, we have a deep understanding of Parkdean’s digital and technology estate, and of how the business works and runs. We have been trusted to both lead and deliver business-critical projects, and to adopt and deliver projects started by other suppliers. We lead on Sitecore best practice, creating a pragmatic balance between technical and commercial drivers for change.

Our close working relationship creates the foundations to build a new phase of the Parkdean journey with them – customer centric, personalised and seamless end to end experience.

Looking forward, we are continuing to support Parkdean in reaching out to customers at just the right time, making meaningful connections with them and letting them know ‘we’re thinking ahead for you’.

Talk to us about how Shout's experts can help you engineer change.

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