How a new digital booking experience dramatically increased conversion for Premier Inn.
14 May 2020 • 2 min read
About Premier Inn
With over 800 hotels, Premier Inn is the UK’s largest hotel chain and generates 70% of Whitbread’s revenue.
The majority of Premier Inn’s bookings were digital, however, with the experience being delivered by an offshore provider, there were concerns over expense, quality and ownership.
So, Whitbread enlisted AND to crack two key challenges simultaneously:
- Develop a new digital team to demonstrate the necessity of internal digital capacity at Premier Inn and Whitbread.
- Build and launch Premier Inn's first fully digital hotel experience, Hub Hotel.
Setting the structure
To kick off, we held a three-day stakeholder workshop to answer these fundamental questions:
- What does it mean to be a ‘digital’ business?
- How do current ways of working need to evolve?
- What additional roles and skills are needed to succeed?
Outcomes were crystallised into a six-month programme, which aimed at recruiting, onboarding and upskilling Whitbread’s digital team.
New ways of working
We worked to upskill teams in Agile at Whitbread, and supported the recruitment and onboarding of new Premier Inn people.
Our Academy and Agile teams supported the creation and running of a bespoke onboarding bootcamp, the Whitbread Digital Academy. We also provided access to a wide catalogue of training, allowing them to continuously learn and develop their own digital skills.
Building Hub Hotel
Working with their product team, we delivered iOS and Android apps and a fully responsive website, for hubhotels.co.uk. To complete this work, we:
- Worked out all third party library dependencies, as well as an unfamiliar code-base.
- Consolidated a third party vendor’s complicated code branches.
- Fixed multiple bugs in existing code, and built all new code locally.
- Built a continuous integration pipeline.
- Introduced processes like pull requests and build monitoring.
- Set up automated testing for the web and mobile applications using browserstack.
The site was deployed into an offering in multiple data centers, using:
- AEM 5.6 + 4.2
- Java, using JSPs to deliver content
Mobile - native applications:
AND successfully took Premier Inn from zero digital capability in-house to having a fully functioning product management team in just six months.
This growth led to a 30% reduction in the use of third party suppliers to deliver further digital work, and also increased delivery velocity within Whitbread four times over.
We also delivered work across 10 more of Whitbread’s other sites, including:
- Business.premierinn.com, the corporate booking tool
- The Premier Inn app on both iOS and Android
- premierinn.de, a brand new German language site
- m.premierinn.com, the mobile Premier Inn site
Finally, as a result of this work, a two-year plan was devised for Premier Inn’s digital journey.