Christmas Ecard Website for Cunard & P&O
- Highly Variable Traffic Levels
- Large Numbers of Mobile and Tablet Visitors
- 3 Week Deadline!
We were approached by Carnival UK, owner of P&O Cruises and Cunard, to create a Christmas Ecard website to add to the festivities on board their vessals.
This project posed some interesting challenges:
- Huge variance in site traffic, culminating on Christmas day
- Accessed by a relatively slow sattelite internet connection from the middle of the great oceans
- Users who may be unfamiliar with modern technology
- 3 week design and development deadline
Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
To handle the large amount of varability of visitors to the site we exploited elastic server technology from Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. This meant that as the number of visitors grew, the resources available to run the website expanded, then contracted again when the visitor numbers tailed off.
This made our expenses very efficient as we only paid for the capacity we used. Additionally, because this project was a first time for Carnival UK, it was difficult to estimate visitor numbers. With this approach, we were ready for anything.
Mailgun Transactional Email
We used an email service called Mailgun which allowed us to boost development speed, increase email delivery speed and improve the user experience.
The cost of using Mailgun was minimal, and it gave us deep insights into our traffic by providing thorough statistics about the emails sent.
The number of website users visiting from a mobile phone currently stands at about 38.6% of all traffic worldwide. Due to the nature of our project, however, our number hovered at around the 65% mark, with most people on board having just their mobile to access the internet.
When building the Ecard website it was optimised for mobiles and tablets from the ground up, giving a great user experience on all devices.
The Christmas Ecard service was a huge success with a very large number of ecards being sent. The service helped connect Cunard and P&O’s passengers with their friends and family which served to improve brand identity among existing customer’s networks.
The service may be expanded in the future to cover other holiday periods like Easter and the summer solstice.