Leveraging Data to Create a More Consistent Guest Experience with Amplitude Analytics
With Amplitude, Haven can identify bugs in minutes and fix them within hours
Doubled the number of active users from their previous digital analytics platform, this continues to rise.
With 38 holiday parks along the UK coast, Haven is one of the UK’s biggest holiday providers. They are the largest brand in parent company Bourne Leisure’s portfolio and also sell caravans/ holiday homes to those who wish to become an owner.
When Google announced the upcoming retirement of Universal Analytics in favour of Google Analytics 4, Haven learned that very few team members were active with the platform. The forced switch offered them a fresh opportunity for a new and improved attitude toward digital analytics. Amplitude showed the team just how much simpler it could be, offering insights that might have otherwise been missed and providing clear lines for the future.
Diversifying an Analytics Stack
When Head of Analytics Dan Grainger first joined Haven in 2019, digital analytics was just becoming a priority; it had previously been considered a project with little consistency and no dedicated ownership. He spent a lot of time redesigning and growing Haven’s websites’ data layers, together with correcting and enhancing the implementation of Google’s Universal Analytics.
In 2022, Google announced that they were decommissioning Universal Analytics and moving everyone to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Dan surveyed Haven’s Google Analytics user base, around 65 people at the time. “I very quickly discovered that 35 of 61 respondents (57%) never, or rarely, used Google Analytics,” Dan says. The survey also revealed that three quarters didn’t feel proficient in the platform; users tended to only trust what they had gathered once it had been vetted by a data expert, which limited the team’s velocity. How could Haven grow a digital data culture when the company was completely reliant on the effort of three analysts?
The situation was creating an unsustainable bottleneck.
The team needed in-depth, easy-to-use capabilities to improve data access and proficiency. “Some existing limitations on GA4 customization and API quotas meant GA4 wasn’t the right fit for Haven; coupled with our marketers preferring to use Google Campaign Manager for creation of cohorts to target, the whole scenario essentially gave us a blank slate from which to re-evaluate things and move forward,” says Dan. “We don’t look for everyone to turn themselves into analysts or become deep-dive researchers, far from it, but people across our business deserve the capability to look at their own metrics and understand their flows and funnels - the ‘day-to-day’ that shouldn’t require people to become specialists.”
Quality Analytics That Address Every Team Need
Dan scoured the market for a variety of options, including MixPanel, Pendo, Heap, and Amplitude Analytics.
“The majority of tools we reviewed are very good at product analytics, but they didn’t tick the box well enough for marketing analytics such as the ability to understand your channels, campaigns, and attribution,” Dan says. Amplitude, however, had already noticed this gap and was addressing it.
“I’d been blown away by the tool from a product analytics perspective,” he says, “but the best sign was how heavily Amplitude were throwing resources into enhancing the marketing focused capabilities. They knew what they were doing, clearly moving towards a world of joined-up product and marketing analytics.” And, he adds, “The quality of the data governance in Amplitude is unheard of in these types of tools.”
Within the Amplitude ‘Data’ module, users can define their schema (events, event properties and user properties) and then lock these down. When events conforming to the schema hit the tool, they’re accepted and put into the interface (unless blocked/ filtered). For those events not conforming, users can create ingestion rules and alerts to handle these scenarios. This additional layer of control ensures users only work with high-quality data.
One of Amplitude’s goals is integrating with every tool across platforms. For instance, Haven chose their customer data platform (CDP) provider based on its customer data experience capabilities. Amplitude integrates with their new CDP, which opens the door for a better understanding of Haven’s guests and owners, allowing more appropriate targeting for their marketing and service communications.
The other thing we love about Amplitude is that it is fantastic in terms of its integration capabilities. That is a big win.
A Quick Launch Leads to Early Wins
The window between Boxing Day and the end of January can make or break a good year for a holiday company in the UK, and Haven moved quickly to launch Amplitude right before the end of 2022.
Haven leveraged Amplitude’s professional services, which offered initial training for anyone who needed visibility into front-end digital data, including product managers and directors, engineers, product designers, and content, merchandising, and marketing teams. Dan and his team now continue to run internal training with more detailed follow-up sessions for the various groups of users, and regular drop-in clinics.
Haven is already reaping the benefits. In one instance, the customer operations team noticed some unusual booking activity, where customers were booking activities for their holidays far outside the usual window. Upon discovering the problem, Dan knew exactly how Amplitude would help them get to the bottom of it.
They were able to quickly isolate a cohort displaying this behaviour in Amplitude, and then used the User Lookup feature to observe the stream of events. With this information, they quickly isolated the bug that was allowing guests to book holiday activities whenever they wanted, instead of limiting them to the appropriate window to ensure the best possible experience; an authentication token that wasn’t being passed correctly. The issue took about five minutes to find and was resolved that same afternoon.
Amplitude allows us to see whether things are working how they should and whether we’re giving our guests and owners the consistent experience that we should be.
Easier Analytics for Everyone
Since launching the tool, Dan hasn’t heard anything but positive feedback. “Lots and lots of, ‘Why have we not found it sooner?’” Dan laughs. The easy navigation and access to insight has blown people away. There are now almost 50 active users with plenty more to come; as they deepen their Amplitude skills Dan intends for them to become power users, or “citizen analysts”, who can help coach others and push for greater adoption through knowledge sharing.
“One of the things I’m always trying to grow is a data-enabled culture,” Dan says. “We need data in the hands of the people who use it frequently and can break up the analyst bottleneck so my team can focus on deeper analysis and insights.”
Not one to follow the crowd, Haven decided to embrace Amplitude because it serves their needs rather than blindly following market giants. This choice is just one way Haven continues to differentiate itself while finding even more opportunities to optimize its product and marketing efforts.