How live video assistance has seen bookings soar at Potters Resort

Every travel company young or old, big or small can benefit from the right injection of technology as Britain’s first holiday camp has found

Shortly before the First World War Hector Potter won £500 in a newspaper competition. After surviving the trenches he decided to put his winnings to good use and the result was the launch of the UK’s first permanent holiday camp. Butlins would come16 years later but today the Potters Resort is the longest standing privately owned holiday centre in the UK.

From timber huts in the 1920s to a resort that today offers a wide range of different holiday experiences and activities for families, groups and individuals across all age groups, the resort has come a long way. But last year Potters recognised that they had perhaps not gone far enough with the online experience.

“We realised that we had a lot more to do,” says Jonny Goddard, a web development manager who came on board last year to help define an online strategy for the business. After doing a fair bit of research, and looking at the effectiveness of Amazon’s Mayday button, Potters decided an interactive online experience using video was the way forward.

While Potters still hasn’t gone down the traditional online booking route – still a subject of debate because of how difficult it is to present such a huge, diverse and regularly changing offer – Potters took the decision to roll out live video assistance technology from Vee24 (other vendors include VeriShow and VideoDesk) This allows its agents to provide the same face-to-face guidance of a travel agent but via a computer and mobile device.  

Human need drives success

The interesting bit is the co-browsing experience which allows agents to quickly answer questions with visual references to the website. According to a study last year by Expedia, travellers typically browse 38 websites before coming to a decision about where to go and where to stay. With live video assistance travel brands can connect with customers using voice, video, text and most interestingly, by co-browsing. So instead of spending frustrating time navigating a website to find the information you really need, agents can quickly point customers to the information they want. As Goddard points out, it’s about physically connecting customer with the resort before they arrive.

Technology investments at Potters are driven by a human need and with bookings up 670% - something Goddard could not have predicted – that is clearly working.

What’s more that is just the beginning as call centre teams are still experiencing hiccups as agents adjust to be more like TV stars. “There are marked differences to simply being on the phone and we have done a lot of training in the form of role play using a script,” Goddard says. The vendor is actively involved in making the experience as clean, enjoyable and seamless as possible. There have been mystery jobs to generate feedback and while the results are impressive so far, fine-tuning the process continues.

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