New FishPal Website

Jan 13, 2022 | Uncategorized

Many of you will have seen that FishPal recently launched our new website (please take a look!).  Today’s update is to give you a flavour for the improvements that are complete, those that are ongoing and our future plans for the site. 

We’re also delighted to trial removing the booking fee, previously charged between £2 and £20 on every booking at check out.  We want to reduce costs for our customers.  If bookings respond positively, we hope to be able to make this a permanent change, and more new will follow on this.  In the meantime, book today to take advantage of the situation!

Why did we need a new website in the first place?

Updating the old website was an important job, to ensure it remained up to todays standards.  We retained the same look and feel of the previous site (“evolution not revolution”), and many of the features from the old site remain in place, albeit in a mobile responsive way, and introduced a number of upgrades referred to below.

But not only that, we also moved the site to a new server and new database, rewrote it to a newer coding language, and significantly upgraded the admin system that beats use to manage their page, to give them more functionality. Much of what we replaced hadn’t been updated since FishPal was launched, and as it aged and technology marched on, the old system became increasingly fragile.  The old website would certainly have crashed at some point, perhaps irretrievably, and we wanted to fix the roof whilst the sun was shining (if you can say that about December!).

New search capabilities

On the previous site, to look for a specific beat you had to navigate through the ‘rivers’, then ‘fisheries’, page to find it.  Now you can search directly on the homepage for both beats and rivers or regions.

Date selection upgrade

In the FishPal survey that we did in the summer, which had over 3,000 responses, a common point was that search by month was a frustrating way to look for fishing. If you wanted to fish, for example, some time during the last week of July or the first week of August, you needed to scroll through three or four weeks of results to view the July availability, and then do a whole new search for August. You now select a start date and an end date, and results show for that period. This means you can narrow your search to just one day, have it include a couple of weeks across different months, or search up to two whole months at a time. There is much more flexibility. The below image demonstrates how to do this:

Classic view vs List view

One thing we also did was change how the search results were displayed, into a List view. Retrospectively this was a mistake, as the classic table view is clearly a loved feature of FishPal, allowing you to very quickly scan large amounts of availability across whole rivers or regions. I am happy to say that we have worked hard to reinstate and upgrade this page, making the table more mobile friendly than before. It is now back and the default view for search results, called “Classic view”.

Search filters

You can now filter your search results by both species and other features that may apply.  Whilst a heli-pad might not be a “must have” for many(!), our survey did reveal that customers want easier ways to find beats that are beginner-friendly or where tuition is provided.  And we loved this idea as we all have an interest in encouraging new anglers to take up the sport.

Some other changes of note to the site:

  1. We have removed the booking fee.
  2. An improved basket that allows you to quickly add days fishing on different beats, for different numbers of rods, and pay all at once.
  3. An improved map search function displaying individual beats and updating results as you move or zoom in on the map.
  4. Fisheries can now change their prices by day rather than just by week, meaning more flexibility and hopefully some good deals for customers on less popular days of the week.
  5. For our international customers, the website is multi-currency and multi-lingual.

Planned changes:

  1. Displaying the last 7 days of catches, rather than the previous week dropping off at midnight on Sunday.
  2. The ability to accept multiple vouchers at checkout.
  3. The ability to search for nearby or estate accommodation with availability to match your fishing search.
  4. Improved catch data.

This is just the beginning!

Customer reaction so far

We are delighted to report that overall customers are finding the new website more user friendly, with the bounce rate down 66.46%.  This is particularly the case with mobile users, where useability statistics are improving the fastest.

We are also seeing an increase in volume of visitors and bookings, with the number of users up 91.8% since 14th December versus the previous year.

We welcome your feedback!

A huge thank you to all of you who completed our survey last summer, and who have sent in suggestions for the new website since then.  We carefully consider all comments and many have led to features on the new website, or planned improvements in addition to those above.

A migration of the scale and complexity undertaken is unlikely to ever be entirely problem-free, however we hope you feel we have reacted quickly to any issues, and thank you for your patience with any niggles experienced whilst you have been awaiting improvements.

Please continue sharing your comments, this can be done here (select “Other”), and keep an eye on the website, as our planned improvements roll out in the weeks and months ahead.

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