Discovery Conferences had utilised the same booking system for well over a decade. Built using a legacy content management system, allowing a customer to book a hotel for a specific conference with payment details then sent through via PGP encryption to our client. Built around an outdated process and with no one able to maintain it, it was clear we would have to start from scratch in developing a more suitable booking system.
However, there was unlikely to be an ‘out the box’ solution. Whilst the website required was relatively basic, the booking system needed to match with the more complex booking process when going through Discovery Conferences. Arranging a small handful of events each year, Discovery Conferences needed a booking system in place that could be easily adapted for each conference and allow delegates to book from a variety of hotels and room specifications.
With an event coming up for the British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) time was very much a factor for this piece of work where a quick turnaround was required. To support this we built a basic but stylish site using a WordPress theme. This offered us more time to focus and work on the booking system. We trialled various WordPress Booking Plugins, considering whether any could be adapted to suit the very specific needs of Discovery Conferences. During this process, we soon realised that in fact we would have to customise on a greater level than we first anticipated.
Firstly, we removed the option for delegates to send their payment details as this was out dated, we looked at holding delegates card details but we would only legally be able to do this for 7 days – where as users were booking their hotel a month or so in advance of the conference. Within WordPress we created a page for the BSIR conference and then setup the hotels (we used a plugin called Goodlayers Hotel), using Room Categories for the Hotels and then assigning various rooms to each Hotel, each hotel had a set number of rooms which were counted down every time a room was booked. This has resulted in a clean, workable booking system for Discovery Conferences which meets with delegate expectations and is more suitable for the modern day.
“Really nice “unteccy” people who don’t baffle you with words you don’t understand! Prompt, great service. Well done Darren and Eilidh.”
JULES NATLACEN, DISCOVERY CONFERENCES