Global change with Big Bus Tours.
Big Bus Tours is the world’s largest operator of open-top bus sightseeing tours, working with thousands of agents (ticket sellers, such as hotel concierges and street-side kiosks). Fiora was briefed with redesigning the whole booking platform to make it faster, intuitive and better suited to the modern consumer market.
Services • Digital • UX
On the surface, Big Bus Tours wanted to update their outdated ticketing system with a new, more intuitive one. Fiora was tasked with designing a consumer-friendly interface that would increase ticket sales and amass more interest in the tours.
However, by discovering the core of what real users wanted from the system, we were able to evolve an ambitious UX project into something even more dynamic.
Telephone voices and leg work
For the platform to succeed on a global level, we needed user feedback from a global team. So, we picked up the phone and hopped on trains, interviewing and shadowing dozens of agents, from hotel concierges in Dubai to street kiosk owners in London. It was through this hands-on, ethnographic approach that we discovered the features users really needed — not the ones BBT expected them to.
Cash out, money in
An important objective, alongside the usability of the platform, was to reduce the number of paper tickets being sold and move sales into a digital format. Many kiosk owners relied on physical tickets delivered by members of BBT’s relationship management team. The delivery could be sporadic and time-consuming, and agents would often miss out on sales due to oversale.
Feedback from both BBT and agents helped inform the UX processes we could implement to solve these issues. This included a mobile-first platform, multiple charging options, the option to change currency based on location and customer need, and the ability to automatically record commission, limiting any cash leakage.
The human element
An exciting element of the UX research was the often unpredictable way we uncovered user-needs.
Some of the biggest changes came from the smallest observations. The simple act of watching a customer fold a paper ticket helped direct the new design, with some clever placement ensuring all information could be accessed without unfolding the A4 sheet.
Others came from direct feedback. A common concern amongst hotel staff was that the updated platform would take out the need for customer guidance. With this in mind, we ensured that specific features, including live traffic updates, detailed tour descriptions, and city-specific promotions, were clearly displayed. This allowed staff to quickly and easily inform their customers while upselling tickets in an educated way, adding value and service to the transaction.
Not just a pretty face
After gathering user-feedback, the next step was translating them into functional, time-saving features.
One of the main challenges was ensuring these variables worked seamlessly across different devices and locations, without interfering with usability. Our commitment to creating an evidence-based, user-first platform meant that every design feature, from button placements to optional rollovers, had a use case. Each version was then rigorously tested through meetings with key BBT stakeholders and user-testing sessions with various agents.
We had deep dived into the world of Big Bus Tours and emerged with a streamlined, user-friendly platform that was as good-looking as it was functional. The results, however, were above our expectations.
The clarity of the system enabled Big Bus Tours to onboard dozens of new cities more quickly, with less effort, and at a fraction of the cost. Even now, new cities continue to be added to the tours. Once onboard, city agents were able to easily navigate through the intuitive platform, encouraging re-use and creating a loyal customer base. This got the Big Bus Tours name out, drastically boosted ticket sales and ultimately increased profits.
This platform is exactly what we needed! It is precisely what I was hoping for. I cannot tell you how much of a difference this makes – it is so much more concierge friendly. Clear, concise and easy to use, even if you have never seen a Big Bus in your life
Amy Young – Concierge, Bellagio Las Vegas
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