Challenge

Kuoni Travel UK is part of DER Touristik, one of Europe’s leading travel groups. Kuoni has continued to set the pace in luxury worldwide travel for over fifty years.

Kuoni UK had discovered an opportunity to deliver a more consultative approach to its customers. This involved a departure from the typical online-led customer service that Kuoni delivered elsewhere in the world. The UK team wanted to create deeper relationships with customers so encouraged online users to complete sales over the phone, resulting in higher value packages sold and a greater likelihood of repeat customers.

Kuoni required independent control of the UK website in order to make the customer journey changes necessary to implement the new strategy including the design, test and launch of local campaigns.

Kuoni UK recognised that having previously been resourced by the Stockholm technical team, they would need specialist assistance to support its new autonomy. The requirements came in two parts:

  • Development services to split the existing codebase;
  • Delivery of a new website and provision of ongoing support.

Additionally, Kuoni required migration and hosting services to host the website in the UK. The project required a delivery within a ten-week timeframe in order to capitalise on the imminent holiday-booking peak in December and January.

Solution

As part of a close collaboration, KCOM recommended Kuoni UK hosted its website in the cloud. A cloud deployment through Amazon Web Services would allow for greater cost efficiency, more flexibility and shorter testing phases. This speed would mean Kuoni could react to market changes and roll out new campaigns faster.

KCOM was chosen because of its experience with code base projects of this complexity and magnitude, its close collaborative attitude with clients and its flexible approach to short timescale projects of this size.

Previously Kuoni had built its website to handle peak levels of demand all year around, despite these peaks only occurring in late December and early January. This meant that the website infrastructure was hugely over-provisioned for 11 months of the year, and therefore massively cost inefficient. A cloud deployment would allow Kuoni to scale its services up and down as demand grew or shrank; moreover, they would only pay for what they consumed, when they consumed it.

Following the migration, KCOM then provided development services that included taking the back-end code base from the Stockholm-hosted website, replicating it on the AWS service and then implementing and integrating new content and customer journeys.

The entire project had to be finalised in time for the imminent December - January traffic peak – giving KCOM only 10 weeks for delivery. The code split was completed in October, closely followed by the AWS environment going live in November, by which point only five weeks remained for the website build. The new website then successfully went live in mid-December.

"This project was a potent combination of short timescales and strategic importance" commented Derek Jones, Managing Director at Kuoni. "The success of the new strategy depended on being live in time for the anticipated peak in traffic just a matter of weeks after this project was agreed. Through its experience in undertakings of this type, and in the technologies involved, KCOM was remarkably able to deliver our new strategy while remaining cost-effective, scalable and within our deadlines."

After the successful go-live, KCOM provided managed services monitoring of the AWS environment; maintaining the code base and catalogue cache; website changes including implementing new campaigns; and managing the integration with the centrally-held Kuoni booking website.

Results

Immediately after the website go-live, Kuoni received the highest traffic peak ever experienced. Because of the robustness and scalability of the new AWS infrastructure, Kuoni was able to seamlessly accommodate this traffic without incurring any additional expense, or customers experiencing any performance issues.