Hotelplan is one of the UK’s largest holiday groups, but despite this it isn’t satisfied to sit on its laurels. As it marked 80 years of operation, the skiing and hiking specialist set out to revamp the way it talks to the thousands of UK travel agencies that sell its holidays.

It asked The Creative Engine to build a bespoke Learning Management System (LMS), populated with the kind of information that would encourage agents to turn to Hotelplan holidays in preference to its rivals.


Working to a deadline

“Every build has a deadline,” explains product manager, Mostafa Ouanounou, “but this one was absolutely fixed. We started discussing the structure and content in the Spring, and launched in late 2016 to catch the start of the holiday seasons.”

Hotelplan was involved at every step, and much of its existing content, including web copy and seminar notes, was incorporated into the training modules. “They covered both the specifics of a Hotelplan break and the background information that would inform an agent’s discussions with a customer. There was a large amount of information we had to make easy to find, such as how to buy lift passes, what to expect when you’re travelling with children and the kind of wines customers might like to try when visiting the Italian Alps.”

Ease of use was a key concern, right from the start, and the decision was made to extend the password system Hotelplan already uses to grant access to its existing systems. This makes it easier for candidates to gain access and minimises support costs.

The platform was coded using JavaScript and HTML to eliminate any barriers to entry. Candidates can learn when they have a few spare minutes, rather than at their desks when their time is better spent selling.


Tracking performance and return

Once it goes live, the system will track each candidate’s performance, feeding back valuable data on which modules they’re passed, courtesy of a series of simple quizzes. Designed to motivate rather than penalise staff, these will be used by Hotelplan to monitor how a participant’s performance corresponds to any changes in an agency’s sales. Ongoing adjustments can then be made to the content to strengthen any aspect that isn’t meeting the client’s requirements.


Disrupting the status quo

Hotelplan already contributes to an industry-wide training platform, but is rolling out a separate, dedicated training portal to lift its holidays above the competition. Doing so will strengthen its position within an increasingly competitive market.

Up to 2,000 candidates are expected to sign-in over the first twelve months, each of which will encounter a fresh, innovative and more engaging learning experience – and one that will evolve over time.

“At this stage, every candidate sees every piece of content,” says Mostafa, “but in the future there’s potential to develop a full ‘learning journey’ in which the content will be tailored to each participant’s experience and performance. So, if a candidate scored well in a particular category, they might be transferred to a more advanced learning path.”

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