Microserve overcame tough competition from the UK’s best Drupal agencies to secure the contract to redevelop the YHA Groups and Schools website.

We loved their positive and ambitious approach and we felt confident that despite the tough deadline they could deliver a best-in-class website for our Groups and School Trips website, which delivers a significant chunk of our revenues.

Microserve impressed us throughout the project with their clear Drupal expertise, their responsiveness and their smart use of Agile project management. Their design work (courtesy of Associate Creative Director Graeme Swinton) was also first-class.

Despite the challenging deadline, the end result was a website that we’re all very proud of. It felt like a great team effort, which is testament to Microserve’s ability to work closely and effectively with our in-house teams. We’re already starting to see the positive impact of the new site to our website traffic, sales and conversion targets

Jon Smith - Head of Digital YHA (England and Wales)

YHA (Youth Hostels Association) is a charity which has provided Hostel accommodation to people of all ages and backgrounds for over 85 years. Part of a suite of Drupal sites, the YHA Groups and Schools site is aimed at Groups and Schools who are looking to book accommodation for groups of 16 or more people. 

The Problem

The existing suite of YHA websites, which included YHA Groups and School Trips site used Drupal 6. YHA were aware that the support from the Drupal community for version 6 had a finite life span. Added to which, YHA Groups and School Trips had previously been a mix of content in different places on the main YHA site. Information was hard to find and the overall user experience was poor. Page conversions for the groups business were not as good as the conversions on the main YHA website for family and individual bookings, and it was clear a total rebuild was necessary.

Adding further complexity, the client had a business critical deadline for project completion. This deadline could not be missed! 

The Solution 

YHA were confident that a Drupal solution was absolutely right for them, and after an initial consultation we decided that Drupal 8, with its range of new features and an admin interface that makes content management far more intuitive, was the best way forward.

Microserve’s expert Drupal development team joined forces with Graeme Swinton, a well known designer in a ‘best of breed’ approach, bringing together the very best talent to develop the website.

To meet the client's business critical deadline, a fully agile process was used to deliver the project. From start to finish the site was developed in a total of seven, two week sprints, assisted by the use of communication tools, such as Slack and JIRA throughout the design stages to allow maximum collaboration and ongoing contact between the client and agency, on web designs.

Content for the new website was completely rewritten, with no data migration from the previous Drupal 6 site, and much of the early development time was dedicated to ensuring an admin interface was completed to allow the client to populate new content simply and efficiently.

Since launching the new website on September 1st, Mobile traffic has increased by nearly 30% and the bounce rate for School Trips has dropped by 60%! New traffic to the YHA has increased by nearly 7% in direct comparison with the old site, and enquiries in general are up year on year, by over 4%

Still in its infancy, many of the Drupal 8 websites currently built are either brochure sites or digital agency sites. The YHA Groups and School Trips project has resulted in a beautiful responsive website, which has made the hostel booking and enquiry process much simpler and enjoyable for Groups and School Trips users. And, is a great example of the power and capabilities of Drupal 8. 

                                                                                  YHA Groups and School Trips website