CUSTOMER STORY

iknow-uk: why iknow-uk
knew to call us

“They were prepared to offer us a Service Level Agreement and the infrastructure to support our in-house web hosting. Few companies offer this, so we were confident that we had made the right choice.”

Marcus Simmons, Managing Director, iknow-uk

Snapshot

Operational goals

To provide a fast internet connection to ensure the site is always available to customers.

Virgin Media Business Digital Solution

We installed a fully-managed, high-speed internet service.

Outcomes

Constant site availability has helped improve customer service and a better site visitor experience.

 
 

Digital aims and operational goals

Formed in September 2003, iknow-uk is an award-winning online accommodation and hospitality directory. They own and run a host of different sites that attract millions of visitors each year, which requires a highly reliable internet service.

iknow-uk is one of the UK’s most successful online hospitality and accommodation directories. Launched in 2003, it’s won seven business awards, pulls in ten million visitors a year, and has a 90% annual customer retention rate.

As an internet pure-play, their website’s performance is critical. Slow is bad, and downtime is an absolute no-no. So, with this in mind and big growth plans of a 100% increase in year-on-year traffic, the company came to us for help. Topping their list of requests was boosting the reliability and performance of their website.

When we first met up with the iknow-uk team, they made one thing crystal clear: Every second their website is out of action, they lose customers. A slow, dead or unresponsive site means that customers would simply click away to a competitor’s site.

And unlike retail stores, an online business doesn’t get to keep office hours. Customers visit their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Bookings can happen any time of the day or night.

Our role

The solution we came back with? Managed Internet Access and Business Phone Lines. And a bit of out-of-the-box thinking: We suggested that as an internet business, they cut out the middleman and do their own in-house web hosting.

When iknow-uk won the National Business Awards Regional Winner for Growth Strategy, we couldn’t stop smiling for days. We’re incredibly proud to be an integral part of their team.

Once we put our advanced Managed Internet Access service in place, iknow-uk could see the benefits almost immediately. Platform stability: Up. Ease of management: Up. Site traffic: Up.

Today, iknow-uk and 15 of their regional sites use our Managed Internet Access as their lifeline. The performance of their website is better than ever and the company generated an estimated £169m in value for the UK tourism industry in the last 12 months.

“My business is nothing without a reliable internet connection – and I’m pleased to say I’m confident my business is in safe hands,” said Marcus Simmons, Managing Director at iknow-uk.

iknow-uk’s runaway success and huge 90% customer retention figure comes from smart, confident marketing. Their hospitality clients are offered a one month free trial demonstration and a full money-back guarantee if their advertising has not paid for itself within six months. Underpinning this bold commitment is confidence in the availability of all their websites.

Our designers and engineers spent time getting well acquainted with iknow-uk’s business. And then we came up with some fresh solutions. First, we gave them our highperformance Managed Internet Access service and Business Phone Lines. This gave them faster than ever online speeds and improved communications. And then we recommended iknow-uk have their website hosted by the people they trust most – themselves. Hosting their website in-house has saved them substantial costs and removed their reliance on a third-party supplier.

Now their sites are always on, giving their customers uninterrupted use of the websites and improving the site experience.

Results

Since we began our partnership, iknow-uk has also improved their ability to rank highly with search engines like Google and Yahoo! With their website's’ uptime consistency, search engine spiders have more access to their website content and are able to update their results more effectively. This has meant the iknow-uk sites have stayed higher in the search results.

“Upgrading the bandwidth was very quick and there was no downtime for our sites, which was critical to the business,’’ said Marcus.

Another success for our clients has been the innovative monitoring service that we offer them. iknow-uk is now kept up to date with their bandwidth usage. They’re experiencing such an increase in growth that their sites could go over their current limits. So instead of reacting once sites have slowed down, they can now pre-plan for these kinds of events.

In fact, since the implementation, iknow-uk has requested two upgrades to their bandwidth to accommodate all the new business. But that’s not the end of it: Their service can still scale further to cope with future growth. And by the looks of things, they’ll need it.

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