GOLD WINNER – 2017 New Generation Awards – Best Corporate Website
What is Afriski Mountain Resort
Afriski Mountain Resort is Southern Africa’s number one destination for both winter and summer activities. Set in the stunning northern Lesotho Highlands,Afriski Mountain Resort initially focused only on skiing and snowboarding.
Over the years, however, the resort has grown and now offers a number of summer activities in addition to the traditional winter sports. Hosting both summer and winter events ensures that Afriski is now a popular year-round destination. From mountain biking, trail running and high-altitude training to skiing, snowboarding or just a party in the mountains, isolated from the rest of society, Afriski is a destination that everyone should visit.
What We Did for Them
Gearbox Creative was contracted to build a new digital corporate presence for the brand. Afriski’s existing site was cumbersome to navigate and extremely difficult for the staff to update as it was built on a fully customised platform that prevented simple, fast changes. For this reason, the site was redeveloped using WordPress.
Although the original site was sound from an SEO and page speed aspect, both the UI and UX were not ideal and this caused major drop-offs in the original site’s visits. The site was also not mobile friendly, as the desktop site displayed when viewed from a mobile device. The site became useful only for the weather updates, accommodation units and the resort status. Other pages were not visited regularly and, on those that were, the bounce rate was very high.
Navigation of the site now runs entirely through the top-level menu bar. The SNOW category covers all winter-related activities, rates and important information. The SUN category highlights Afriski’s summer activities and provides the contact details of the summer staff. STAY provides accommodation details, the resort’s facilities and detailed directions. The EVENTS calendar is regularly updated and showcases upcoming events. Past events are also accessible from the EVENTS tab and are created as blog posts. These are not only informative, but show high SEO scores and ensure regular content is loaded for Google algorithmic purposes. The &MORE tab provides information on Lesotho and additional information for investors and first-timers. The five key top-level items keep the site clean, while the expansion provides detail.
Need for Seasonal Visitors
Another objective that was considered during the process was the need to drive more consumers to use the traditionally winter resort for summer events. By creating a prominent section for SUN with all the activities presented, we hope to bring more people to the resort during the summer months. In addition, we have changed the branding to a vibrant, summery green. This highlights Afriski’s ability to provide summer-related activities in addition to the traditional winter activities offered by the resort.\
Custom XML Development
Unlike our other web development projects, this site was custom built so as to best cater to the client’s needs. One of the site’s custom elements is the weather widget. This is an XML feed that is pulled from Snow Forecast. We implemented the feed in order to provide a 6-day forecast of the weather at Afriski. The feed is controlled by a cron job, which updates every 8 hours, providing users with the most current conditions. The feed was styled entirely in-house.
Gearbox Creative has been our preferred digital supplier since 2012. They first built our G-Form South Africa eCommerce platform. In 2014, they were responsible for the development and deployment of another eCommerce site, Goneskiing. As our brands grew, we decided to develop the Boardriders Asylum eCommerce site in 2015. It was because of this long relationship that we approached Gearbox Creative to redevelop the Afriski Mountain Resort website in 2016.
Not only has Gearbox Creative carried out web development work for our group of companies, but they have also been instrumental in creating beautifully written content for a very niche audience. Many of the articles that they have created for us rank top in the Google searches.
Gearbox Creative has also run several digital advertising campaigns for us, which have had success and reached the goals intended.
We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with the company.
Owner of Goneskiing and Boardriders Asylum
Operations Director of Afriski Mountain Resort