Chester Zoo

Creating a world-leading tourism attraction website


Making a positive impact


Increase in conversion rate


Increase in online transactions


Increase in Organic traffic


Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is the UK’s leading not-for-profit registered conservation and education charity, with 2 million visitors per year, Chester Zoo is home to more than 20,000 animals made up from 600 different species, many of which are endangered in the wild.

Chester Zoo’s sole mission is to prevent extinction of highly threatened species across the globe, and they play a vital role in inspiring and educating people about the natural world and the impact humans have on it – creating and nurturing the conservationist in us all.


Bringing Chester Zoo to life

Chester Zoo had a brand that was instantly recognisable, full of fun and excitement, all whilst being able to convey their serious mission about preventing extinction. However, the same could not be said online, that sense of fun was being limited by a lack of flexibility in the platform, preventing the in-house marketing team from fully realising their creative campaign and content ideas. Subsequently, Chester Zoo were unable to create personalised user experiences for visitors or drive as much revenue as they’d like through the site.

They needed a website that could easily grow and adapt alongside them and this is where Ultimate came in.


Real users, real data

Due to the complex work that Chester Zoo carry out, their new website needed to cater for a wide range of different audience types, for instance, families looking for a fun-filled day out, or a conservation enthusiast looking for research talks around endangered species, this website needed to do it all!

To fully understand how each user type was currently interacting with the website, we conducted user testing across mobile, desktop and tablet. This testing allowed us to gain valuable insight into the users expectations, preferences and needs. We then combined this information with additional information we had gleaned from an interactive workshop with key stakeholders at the Zoo.

By combining all of our knowledge we were able to guide the design and development of the new website based on real users and real data.

Posters for Chester Zoo storytelling campaign on a wall


Flexible, adaptable WordPress Multisite CMS

Due to the volume of sub-brands that sit within Chester Zoo and the lack of adaptability within the old website, we decided to build a fully bespoke WordPress Multisite CMS. This meant that the zoo had maximum flexibility within the system to add additional sub-brands and expand over time without allowing the system to become overrun and messy. The aim for the website was longevity, and quality and that is exactly what we managed to achieve.

Chester Zoo out of home storytelling campaign poster


Driving additional revenue streams

As a not for profit, Chester Zoo relies on donations of their visitors both online and offline to continue their mission to prevent extinction. Since covid, there had been a steady decline in online donations, donations that were critical to keeping their work across the globe going.

We mapped out the current ticketing journey and conducted usability testing to identify the main reason why donations dropped from the ticket booking system. By combining our qualitative and quantitive data we were able to understand that customers were want to know the cost of their final ticket price before donating. We also found other usability issues such as time consumption in form fields and lack of basket functionality.

Our solution was simple, to address the pain points we simply redesigned parts of the ticketing journey with no hidden costs and clear messaging about the donation and how to zoo spend donated money. Once the change had been made the zoo saw a significant increase in donations being added to online ticket purchases.

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