Sovereign holidays

Sovereign Holidays Design Sprint

Specialist holidays group wanted to bring the luxury holiday service – Sovereign – onto their new web platform but needed to understand what would need to be changed based on the needs of the Sovereign customer and the brand strategy.

What we did

A discovery project was commissioned with the in-house UX team working closely with an external agency We Are Experience. The output of the project was to create a user validated concept to communicate rge right customer experience for Sovereign’s audience and align with the new brand strategy work.

The experience of using Sovereign’s website needed to match the new brand values – setting it apart from the competition by becoming a places that inspires travel.

We began the process by a round of testing of existing websites, looking for usability issues and opportunities and probing to see whether customers felt that it matched the brand values well.

Co design

During Co-design we aimed to resolve the usability issues identified and address other needs picked up by the research. After sketching out potential solutions and iterating in sketch form we split the journey by the designers we had and individually went off to work up the screens in Axure. This was all collaboratively stitched together which led to the creation of a prototype.

Sovereign prototype (Desktop)

RACE process

Using a process of test and iteration we spent a week validating the prototype with customers – picking up usability issues and testing hypotheses. Surprisingly we found that when it came to packaging their holidays users preferred a single long page with all the packaging options in one place rather than stepping through smaller tasks one by one.

Measuring customer perceptions

After each user test we asked customers to choose words they associated with the prototype to give a measure of whether it was living up to the brand aspirations. By the end of the week the prototype had changed perceptions with users critically perceiving it as being more inspirational.

A luxury product should not feel commoditised

We found that by exposing all of the filtering options that customers felt that the product was cheapened. Often for resort specific searches the results would be limited to a small number so the filters did not feel in keeping with the product. We found that by hiding the filters users felt the product was more handpicked – and felt more fitting for the brand.

Imagery helped change perceptions

The hotel details template – which was the area I was working on – delivered the biggest shift in brand perception and usability. We knew that all customer engaged most with the photography – so we brought it out into the page. By telling a visually stimulating narrative about the hotel and resort we found that users became much more engaged and would feel more inspired to book.

The result

The findings of the research formed the basis of the work needed to move Sovereign onto the NEO web platform – due now in 2017. The biggest impact items were prioritised and delivered incrementally.


  • Sovereign Holidays


  • Research
  • Design