Customer Story: SuzanneStays

INNOVATION

SuzanneStays is a real es­tate plat­form spe­cial­is­ing in ac­ces­si­ble ac­co­mo­da­tion. Their vi­sion is to en­able every­one to hol­i­day away from home, no mat­ter their re­stric­tions. From late 2018 to early 2019 WorkingMouse helped co-founders Michael, Suzanne and Paul build the plat­form. Like many new busi­nesses, SuzanneStays was cre­ated to fill a gap in the mar­ket. Often, ac­co­mo­da­tion providers ad­ver­tise ‘dis­abled ac­co­mo­da­tion’ but rarely are these ac­co­mo­da­tion op­tions ac­tu­ally fully ac­ces­si­ble.


Backstory

Suzanne and Michael met in November 1993, and share a com­mon pas­sion for travel and ad­ven­ture. In December 2017 Suzanne was di­ag­nosed with mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease (MND/ALS). Like many peo­ple faced with the fa­tal di­ag­no­sis, Suzanne cre­ated her bucket list which fea­tured pre­dom­i­nantly fam­ily travel, and ad­ven­tures she still wanted to en­joy. Whilst trav­el­ling around the world it be­came ob­vi­ous that there are many vari­a­tions on the term ‘accessible’ and ‘wheelchair friendly.’ In ad­di­tion to that, there was no easy way to search for only ac­ces­si­ble ac­co­mo­da­tion. For these two rea­sons, Michael and Suzanne along with busi­ness part­ner Paul en­gaged WorkingMouse to cre­ate their vi­sion for SuzanneStays.

The Scope

The scope be­gan with an over­ar­ch­ing vi­sion “enable the dis­abled to hol­i­day away from home.” This vi­sion was fed into every­thing the team de­signed and sub­se­quently built. The para­mount fo­cus was to al­low every­one to hol­i­day away from home with­out the stress of won­der­ing whether equip­ment will be de­liv­ered or some­thing is truly ac­ces­si­ble.

The pro­ject team con­sisted of Jordie Peters (Squad Lead), Nicola D’Andrea (UX Designer), Blake Lockett (Web Developer), Lissy Lawrence (Tools Developer).

Design Considerations

The de­sign needed to be fo­cused around hu­mans. We wanted peo­ple to be ex­cited about hol­i­day­ing. As a re­sult, we cre­ated a ‘build a hol­i­day’ wiz­ard for peo­ple that know they want to go on hol­i­day but haven’t de­cided where to go or what to do.

The other key con­sid­er­a­tion when de­sign­ing SuzanneStays was ac­knowl­edg­ing that we need a highly ac­ces­si­ble web­site. Semantic HTML was a pri­or­ity along with a top menu bar that al­lows users to in­crease or de­crease the text size and switch into high con­trast mode. A float­ing nav­i­ga­tion menu was im­ple­mented on every prop­erty pro­file page.

The Platform

As with many soft­ware pro­jects, the plat­form evolved and grew or­gan­i­cally from the ini­tial vi­sion. The core com­po­nents of SuzanneStays is cre­at­ing an ini­tial in­ter­est for hol­i­day­ing - achieved through the build a hol­i­day wiz­ard. Then show­ing dif­fer­ent ac­co­mo­da­tion op­tions with a de­tailed de­scrip­tion of their ac­ces­si­bil­ity and room con­fig­u­ra­tions. The book­ing wiz­ard stages users through the process of se­lect­ing their hol­i­day dates, con­fig­ur­ing the room setup and pay­ing for the hol­i­day. Users can then see their up­com­ing trips and are re­minded through emails.

SuzanneStays is pred­i­cated on two sides of the mar­ket com­ing to­gether; peo­ple look­ing for ac­ces­si­ble ac­co­mo­da­tion and peo­ple able to pro­vide that ac­co­mo­da­tion. To tai­lor to two sides of the mar­ket, we cre­ated two por­tals. This sec­ond por­tal stages prop­erty own­ers through the process of tak­ing their cur­rent prop­erty, as­sess­ing whether any changes are re­quired to make it ac­ces­si­ble, fa­cil­i­tat­ing those changes and fi­nally, list­ing their prop­erty on SuzanneStays. It is a sin­gu­lar view of where the prop­erty owner is at in the on board­ing process.

The Future

SuzanneStays launches this Thursday, the 28th of March. On the im­me­di­ate roadmap the com­pany plans to grow their prop­erty base and en­gage with the grow­ing user base. In the fu­ture, the plat­forms of­fer­ing and list of fea­tures will grow to en­gage an in­creas­ing de­mand.

Knowing the prod­uct own­ers (Michael, Suzanne and Paul) as well as the prob­lem SuzanneStays seeks to ad­dress, we are de­lighted to see the re­sult of the en­tire team’s hard work com­ing to fruition. We will be with them at every stage of the jour­ney.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yianni Stergou

Marketing en­thu­si­ast and FIFA ex­tra­or­di­naire

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