About the client
Synotrip is a P2P platform that helps tourists find the best guides around the world (mainly in China). In addition to guided tours, guides can book a hotel, work as business assistants, organize shopping tours, and so on.
We have been partnering with this client since 2017. They handled an existing website, requiring improvements and changes. During this time, we have:
- developed the new theme for the main page,
- introduced game mechanics,
- set up payments,
- improved SEO.
The new main page
Is it guides or their tours that matters the most in the process of planning the spare time? Before the website was handed over to us, it was supposed that the user could choose a tour based on photographs taken by the guides. But the key to a good trip is sympathy for the guide, so we created a new theme of the main page that draws attention to the profiles of the guides.
We have moved the filter search of guides from the Tour Guides page to the main page. This reduced a number of actions before completing CTA.
The rating of Guides
Guides are the primary users of the website. They offer services, monetize the platform, and create content. Until 2020, the platform offered different types of membership for guides depending on the monthly payment on the platform. It determined their place in the ranking.
In conjunction with the customer, we developed and implemented gamification mechanics to motivate guides to create content and improve their professional image. Guides receive user points for creating content. They are attached to locations: the more the guide writes notes about a particular city, the higher he/she is in the rating of guides working in that city. In the personal account, the guide can designate three main and several secondary places for excursions. Mechanics is built on a UserPoints module.
At some point, the Guides long-term residents of the platform accumulated so many user points that new ones would have to release content at a very high frequency in order to rise in the search results. Guides drew our attention to that and we set up the accounting of user points received by the guide only within the last year.
Guides pay fees to the website for the opportunity to find tourists through it. Before we started working on the website, guides transferred money on their own, manually. There are many reasons to consider this inconvenient: you can forget to pay on time, you can lose your bank card, but the need to remember about payments puts both sides in a bind.
It became possible to automate payments by integrating the Commerce module and framework into the website. Commerce is a Drupal profile and it makes it possible to natively integrate commercial options into a Drupal website and turn it into an online store - with a product card, shopping cart, making payments via a secure payment gateway, etc.
Thanks to Commerce, guides receive notifications that a subscription has been paid for, will expire soon, or has already expired. Also, there’s the automated debiting of money for posting a guide's profile.
When the coronavirus pandemic began and the flow of tourists fell, it became unprofitable for guides to pay for membership every month. Therefore, we set up a pay-per-deal model: the guide pays to the platform only for the client.
Synotrip has many registered and anonymous users. For each group of users, the website looks different: for example, guides working with the website have an admin panel for adding content, while anonymous guests do not. Here the developers faced the problem of high load on the website.
The obvious way to offload is to cache some of the data so that it is not loaded entirely from the database. On Synotrip, this task is solved by the Boost module: its crawler crawls the pages at night or when they are updated and generates static HTML pages, saves them, and then shows them to anonymous users. Caching has a positive effect on website loading speed and, consequently, their visibility in search engines, and Synotrip is no exception.
Although the flow of tourists has decreased due to the coronavirus, we do not lose touch with the client and are ready to return to the project in better times.