Redesigning a digital culture

  • Luke Darbyshire

This is the story of how Clearleft helped Virgin Holidays build its own design capability, change its approach to digital and get shortlisted for Digital Transformation at Wirehive 100 2018 Awards. Read the full story here - ---- The challenge for Virgin Holidays The travel sector is seeing ongoing disruption from new business models, such as Airbnb, as well as indirect, digitally-native competitors from outside of the traditional travel provider space, such as Google and its ever increasing suite of travel tools. The ability for consumers to tailor their holiday experience to their own unique demands requires package holiday providers, and others in the travel industry, to radically and rapidly transform the products and services they deliver and, perhaps equally as important, how they deliver them. Issues of adaptability and agility at larger enterprises are also ongoing challenges where the pace of change is so disruptive that the average lifespan of a successful company has shrunk by over two-thirds over the last 50 years, to under 15 years. Like many well-established bricks and mortar organisations, Virgin Holidays was looking at the means to deliver products and services more successfully via digital channels, whilst building a design culture for the future. There were three implicit strands to our engagement: How do we deliver better-designed, more desirable digital products that meet the needs and expectations of customers? How do we sustainably build design capability into the business? How do we influence the company’s culture, mindset and approach to digital? ---- The Results Record business growth on the web Since our partnership with Virgin Holidays began, sales generated via the web have grown faster and larger than ever, increasing by 8% over 2 years. In comparison to retail stores and the call centre, the web is now the largest sales channel. Sustainable in-house design capability The in-house digital design team has doubled in size, with Clearleft supporting the coaching, training, mentoring and recruitment of new team members, in diverse roles from Product Design, User Experience and Customer Insights & Research. The partnership also attracted positive PR in trade travel press, sharing the story and helping attract new talent. A renewed focus on digital evolution In collaboration with the Technology leadership team, Clearleft played a vital role in ensuring that the voice of design has a seat at the table - both in terms of the future shape of digital at Virgin Holidays and the decision-making processes behind their digital strategy.