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Driving membership engagement for Africa's tourism trade

The challenge

Atta is a member-driven trade association that promotes tourism to Africa from all corners of the world. Representing 22 African countries and with over 600 members, Atta acts as Pan-Africa’s largest network of tourism product. The brand is recognised throughout the industry as the definitive authority on all matters concerning tourism to Africa.

When Atta initially came to us, they knew they wanted to upgrade their website as the current technology was no longer supporting them in their ambition to drive better engagement across their membership, and to help grow their membership base. However, they didn’t have all the answers and were looking for our help to define what success could look like for this project.

Collaboration is at the core of everything we do at Etch, so we started working very closely with Atta’s key stakeholders to ensure we fully understood the business aims and objectives, and what success could look like for the association. Some of the key challenges we highlighted early in this phase included:

  • Improve self-service for members using the site
  • Decrease the time Atta spent on managing members
  • Give more flexibility and a very intuitive and simple to use CMS that gave more control to Atta, especially with regards to events and members
  • Develop a more functional and integrated email system
  • Ensure that the site worked across the African continent, especially in areas with slow connections
  • Develop a more intuitive and engaging directory and knowledge sharing platform

The outcome was a brief and plan for us to work with Atta to develop a new website that drove them towards their strategic goals, to better support and grow their membership base and gave them better control of their website content. In order to do this, a new CRM was also needed to better capture data and define a single member view.

The approach

In order to ensure the most value was delivered for the project, we started by running workshops with key stakeholders across the Association to ensure the most valuable business and project objectives were set. We then went on to run a requirements workshop with the client to present back a technical brief and document that outlined potential ways forward for Atta.

We then quickly started to map out how Atta could start to form more meaningful relationships with members by taking a more content focussed approach. This new content strategy became the focus for the new website, ensuring the new designs and journeys enabled members to learn, engage and get support.

The new CMS platform that we recommended to support this new content focussed strategy was Umbraco. Not only did Umbraco enable us to overcome a lot of the technical frustrations we identified in the early stages of the project, but it also gave us the ability to deliver a more seamless front-end experience that connected all of their data. As Atta’s membership is very diverse, with differing level of technical abilities across the continent, the Umbraco platform was also a perfect fit due to the intuitive and custom designed back end which is incredibly easy to use.

Being totally Opensource and flexible, Umbraco also enabled us to integrate with other best in class third parties' integrations such as Mailchimp, Eventbrite and the provision of a specialist membership CRM Wild Apricot. We worked very closely with Wild Apricot, a specialist CRM provider to the Membership sector, throughout the project to ensure we made the most out of both the CMS and CRM functionality and developed the single member view and could capture data to drive the associations knowledge and strategies once the website went live.

The outcome

The new content focussed site launched in September 2017, and after less than a year of launching the membership has already grown by over 10%. This has been an incredible result for the Association as this more than trebles what was delivered in previous years. The integration of Mailchimp and Eventbrite has also meant that the delivery of news, event and other content has improved. In addition, Mailchimp has allowed Atta to send more tactical information by segmenting their database and having deeper insights through analytics. These integrations have had a huge impact on member engagement, increasing loyalty and retention.

The workflow changes that the delivery of this project has enabled has also freed up internal time by over 50%, ensuring they can now work more strategically rather than having to deal with day to day technical constraints.

We continue to work with Atta on their digital journey as a fully integrated digital transformation partner, and new functionality and updates are being rolled out continually as we learn from the data and drive the association towards a more connected future.

Visit the new, improved site and see the results for yourself at www.atta.travel