Site of the Year 2009-United Kingdom Category Winners

Learn about Sitecore's Site of the Year category winners - websites that we recognize as best in industry web solutions leveraging Sitecore technology.

Audley Travel screenshot

Best Entertainment, Leisure and Travel Site (tie): Audley Travel

Implementation Partner: True Clarity

Audley Travel are specialists in tailor-made individual itineraries for discerning travellers seeking authentic experiences around the world. Their reputation has developed through a deep knowledge and interest in the countries and regions they operate in. All of Audley Travel’s staff have either lived in or travelled extensively through these regions.

The purpose of the Audley Travel site is to promote their tailor-made holidays, provide travel inspiration, guide people to contact them to help plan their personalised itineraries, keep customers up to date with latest news, offers and developments, provide a visual showcase of the destinations that Audley Travel offers.

Previously every page was individually coded and maintained by hand. There was little cross-referencing of content or automation. Imagery, which is especially important in this industry, was managed manually, and it was extremely time-consuming and required technical skills. The site grew to more than 4,000 pages, until Audley Travel decided they need to look at a better CMS solution in order to

  • manage the content itself
  • manage the relationships between content
  • allow relatively non-technical people to maintain the site.

One of the main goals for the new site was to drive customers to contact Audley Travel – either through a structured enquiry form or via telephone.

Sitecore was chosen as the CMS based on the following reasons:

  • Ability to easily manage content relationships
  • Ability to re-use content in different places in the site and manage that through an easy-to-use interface.
  • Powerful API
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use - Based on .NET framework
  • Established/proven
  • Continually developed and improved

Audley Travel  extended Sitecore in the following ways:

  • They took full advantage of Sitecore’s API to integrate an in-house media library of 150,000 images hosted on Amazon S3 cloud server and automatically generate and re-size relevant imagery on the fly as the site visitor browses the site.
  • They integrated Sitecore with their back end systems to automatically feed content into Sitecore
  • They integrated Sitecore with Google Maps to automatically generate an itinerary route on the fly.
  • Audley Travel developed numerous extra buttons into the Ribbon bar within Sitecore to integrate with other in-house systems. For instance, the ability to geo-locate an element of content (a hotel or a place for example) from within Sitecore as it is added by the content editors and integrated with the in-house geo-database and services like Geo Names.

Today, the site offers an interactive and appealing experience for site visitors. In addition, although all content on the site is presented in English, Audley Travel uses the language functionality of Sitecore to produce location-specific versions of contact details dependent on the incoming URL. For example, if in the US, the visitor would see a US freephone number and contact details. This is set up for the US, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand & Canada. The site is now up to more than 10,000 pages, thanks to the ease of use to create and edit content within Sitecore.

Since launching the new site 18 months ago on Sitecore, Audley Travel has won six awards (e.g. "Wanderlust Best Website 2009", "New Zealand Tourist Board Best Tour Operator Website 2008", Canada Tourism Commission Best Use of Online 2008", "Travelmole Asia Best Website 2008"). In addition, site traffic and enquiry levels have risen sharply year on year since they launched the site which is partly due to Audley Travel’s ability to turn around new content is a much shorter timescale than previously.

Ellesse screenshot

Best Retail, Wholesale and Consumer Goods Site: Ellesse

Implementation Partner: Athlon

Ellesse is an Italian sportswear brand that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. ellesse was born in Perugia, Italy in 1959. The brand was the realisation of expert tailor Leonardo Servadio, whose passion for skiing inspired him to create revolutionary designs in skiwear throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The company was named after his initials (LS - Ellesse). The brand's heritage shines through in the 2009 collections as ellesse continues to push the boundaries of sportswear - fusing iconic products from its archive combined with a futuristic twist.

Ellesse is a global brand site with rich brand information. Previously, the site was outdated and did not allow the sharing of information between Global and Local markets.

Working with Sitecore partner, Athlon, Ellesse’s goals for their new site included:

  • Ability to promote a global brand message whilst allowing individuals from different sites to obtain local information or be directed to their local site
  • Ability to customise Sitecore into multiple languages for local site editors

Sitecore was chosen as the site platform for multiple reasons, including the ability to use one global platform, the capability to seamlessly share content, the flexibility of Sitecore, the ease of customizing the solution, and finally, Sitecore’s cost effectiveness.

Today, the new site functions as a hub for information as well as a vehicle for running global campaigns. The site offers a beautiful design, multiple media elements, and an international feel in representing the brand.  Since going live with Sitecore, site visits increased from 7,000 to 58,000, and time spent on the site increased from 0.4 minutes to 4 minutes.  Ellesse is planning to soon roll out several local sites, including a Brazilian site ( which will be offered in Portuguese.

JISC screenshot

Best Education, Media and Advertising Site: JISC

Implementation Partner: Eduserv

JISC leads UK colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies. It invests heavily in research and development, offering over 18 million users access to quality assured resources through its secure computer network as well as value for money through its national content agreements. JISC also provides expert advice and guidance through its 49 services to work with colleges and universities to realise the potential of their existing technologies. JISC is funded by the UK’s higher education funding councils.

The JISC website is an information portal to communicate its work, research, services and outputs to its audience of researchers, academics and learners in UK colleges and universities.

JISC has been running Sitecore for three years and when they decided to redesign their site, made the decision to continue with the Sitecore product, to build upon the existing site’s success.

Objectives for the new website included:

  • To improve its usability
  • To improve the site’s look and feel
  • To provide new and innovative ways for users of the site to personalise the content they see;
  • To make as much information as possible available via RSS;
  • To surface more of the popular and high-profile content on the site

Sitecore partner, Eduserv, redesigned the JISC site, and made the following customizations:

  • They built a custom tag system for JISC, allowing JISC editors to tag pages with terms from a taxonomy of topics and to expose them via topic pages and other means.
  • Eduserv  also created a personalisation system whereby users are able to customise their home page with a number of 'widgits' that can be filtered by your topics of interest.

Today, the new site has allowed the large volume of content that JISC produces to be much more available and accessible to the non-expert user.

Kia UK screenshot

Best Manufacturing, Automotive and Technology Site: Kia Motors

Implementation Partner: E3 Media

Kia Motors has been the UK’s fastest growing car brand for the last three years. This growth was largely fuelled by a value positioning. As the quality of their cars improved, Kia needed to be able to sell themselves, with a proposition that was based around quality, as well as good honest value.

Kia needed a stunning new website that embodied their brand promise the ‘Power to Surprise’. The site had to persuade users to reassess their preconceptions of the brand and create desire for the cars. Combined with this, the entire project needed to be completed in just three months, to deliver maximum sales during extremely tough trading conditions.

Since launching the new site with Sitecore in March 2009, the site was delivering real business benefit.

Commercial performance of the site has markedly improved - sales leads have increased significantly - brochure downloads are up by 338% against a target increase of 50%. Users spent far longer on the site engaging with the cars, and footfall into dealer showrooms was supported by a 50% rise in dealer searches - topping 60,000 in the first month.

Kia is now trading very well; in fact, their market share has risen from 1.4% to 2.93%.

Read full case study here.

Manchester City screenshot

Best Entertainment, Leisure and Travel Site (tie): Manchester City

Implementation Partner: Aqueduct

Manchester City had humble ambitions to be the best football club website on the web. The site needed to be content and media rich, up to date, informative for fans and enable transactions for both ticket purchases and an e-commerce shop.

MCFC is one of the UK’s highest profile Premier League club. The pressure to excel in delivery was not just down to PR - the site needed to support traffic volume surges, take high volumes of transactions, and be delivered to unchanging club-wide milestones. To add to the challenge, Aqueduct needed to work with creative agency Poke to ensure their envelope-pushing designs could be implemented flawlessly. This was the biggest single development job we have undertaken, and we had only 2.5 months from initial scoping to launch.

Goals for the new site included:

  • Ensure editors are able to maintain the website in near-real time during games, key events,
  • Cope with huge bursts of traffic during transfer windows, high profile games and announcements.
  • Develop a website that allows the club to be agile with the website and continue to evolve the website quickly.
  • Deliver an award winning website which looks great, functions great, delivers revenues for the club and is a pleasure for the club editors to work with.
  • Move away from what is considered a traditional CMS driven website and deliver a media and content rich site that defies traditional expectations for templated websites.

Sitecore CMS was chosen for the new website platform. Its complete separation of content from presentation meant that the creative designs could be met without compromise, and the content could be surfaced throughout the site (such as Flash) and via third party systems (such as ecommerce).

Aqueduct took advantage of Sitecore’s flexibility to extend it in many ways:

  • Aqueduct built a real time solution module which integrates into Sitecore CMS which allows journalists to provide real time commentary and upload imagery to the site, which is in turn published in realtime via a Flash & AJAX interface.
  • Aqueduct have built content feed modules for feeding live game data into the site.
  • Aqueduct integrated Brightcove to allow for seamless integration between their video streaming and distribution platform and Sitecore.
  • Aqueduct integrated IRIS for the ticketing systems, Metagy for the shop management and logistics and YesPay for all transactions.
  • Aqueduct integrated LimeLight CDN to offload the bandwidth heavy media serving requirements for the site.

The new site looks great, feels intuitive, and the rich interface makes extensive use of AJAX. In addition, the site is media rich and it's all run from Sitecore CMS. Aqueduct delivered the entire site in about six months -- in what seemed an unachievable task at the time considering the number of third parties that were relied on for integration.

Manchester City reports overwhelming success with the new site – with 90,000 unique visits on launch day, more than 1,000 orders on the shop in 24 hours, -- equalling in excess of £50,000, and more than 1.3m unique visits and 7m page views within the first 14 days. The site will soon be multilingual, as they are about to launch Arabic, and 2-3 other languages will be launched soon after with at least one more Unicode language set to be included. 

Victim Support screenshot

Best Government, Healthcare and Not-for-Profit Site: Victim Support

Implementation Partner: Eduserv

Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime across England and Wales. Set up 35 years ago, the charity is the oldest and largest victims' organisation in the world. Every year, Victim Support contacts more than 1.5 million people after a crime to offer its help.

There are three main purposes for the Victim Support web site:

  • To offer a direct route to information and support for anyone affected by crime in England and Wales – both victims and witnesses
  • To promote Victim Support and encourage people to volunteer and support the organisation with fundraising efforts
  • To raise awareness more generally of the Victim Support brand

Previously, Victim Support had a nine-year old hand-coded website that was “boring, dated, totally inflexible and a complete nightmare to manage and update,” according to Paul Fawcett, Victim Support. Every page element was hand coded and the site had grown so big that is had become nearly impossible to track content and keep it up-to-date and consistent. “We were completely unable to even add any images for the best part of a year as the page templates were so inflexible and we had nobody available with the technical skills required to do it,” says Fawcett.

The organisation has been 'reborn' over the last two years.  – Victim Support created a single national charity in 2008 by merging around 70 former local charities that were joined in a federation. The goal was to reposition itself as a single national charity and the national voice for victims and witness of crime. Victim Support also wanted to use its online presence to drive increased volunteer numbers and charitable donations - something the previous site was not designed to do.

Victim Support selected Sitecore to help meet is goals. As the charity was unfamiliar with the CMS solutions available, it hired a consultant, Eduserv, to scope a number of CMS products and make a recommendation. The power and flexibility of Sitecore gave it the edge over others as did the potential for integration with Sharepoint which is going to be deployed nationally across the charity for its intranet.

Today, the new site is vibrant and the editors at Victim Support can update quickly and easily. Says Fawcett, “We can create content in around a tenth of the time it took previously and the pages we create have 20 times the impact, or more. My whole team is now involved daily in keeping the site fresh and alive. The site is brand new but so far feedback has been very positive.  Many of the users say the site has exceeded their expectations significantly.”

Zuken screenshot

Best Professional, Business and Personal Services Site: Zuken

Implementation Partner: 3Sixty

Zuken works globally with leading companies to optimize their electrical and electronic engineering design and related manufacturing processes through the provision of leading-edge software and consulting services. The company’s unique combination of proven experience, technological expertise and agility creates best in class solutions. Zuken’s transparent working practices and belief in integrity in all aspects of business produce long lasting and successful customer partnerships.

Previously, Zuken faced some challenges with their site including:

  • Multi-language – the site was in English but need to better represent the global locations of its sellers
  • Separate product sites, inconsistent approach – Zuken needed to consolidate three sites into one, and they also needed to convey a consistent, professional image
  • Non compliance to Data Protection Act – In their industry, the Zuken site undergoes rigorous security checks and needed to be compliant to the Data Protection Act. As part of this, Zuken wanted site visitors to be able to see what is available to download prior to registration, and the site will also need to disclose what additional information is required to download.

Working with Sitecore partner, 3Sixty, Zuken updated their website. The goals for the new site were to promote Zuken products and increase brand awareness. They also wanted to merge two company sites into one, following a recent acquisition, as well as integrate a product website to create one website, to promote Zuken as a global brand, and finally, make the site easy to navigate with all relevant product info in one area. Finally, Zuken needed to be able to present multiple offices / distributor locations in a cost effective, easy to use way. With network of offices and distributors spanning 40+ countries in 100+ locations representing visitors ‘local office’ had previously been a challenge. The introduction of a customised Google mapping solution simplified this issue within a recognised interface.

Sitecore was chosen based on the following:

  • Professional CMS ranked as one of leading providers.
  • Design partner, 3Sixty’s proximity to the office
  • Ease of use and scope for expansion to fit Zuken’s bespoke requirements
  • Ability for complete content management control, including content within flash animations
  • Stable, out of box existing supplier

Today the site is available in English and German, and will soon be available in French and Italian.

The professional and consistent appearance of the site better represents Zuken as a global player in their market. Lead registrations on the Zuken site are tied into to their CRM, Salesforce. As a result of the new site, the leads have increased so dramatically that Zuken actually had to upgrade their requirements on their Salesforce account in order to handle all of the incoming leads and are now in the process of further upgrading their servers to cope with demand.


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Boy Scouts of America | Read Case Study >

We have been impressed with Sitecore’s extensibility and ease of use. In addition, the time to market for new websites and web pages has decreased dramatically.

- Eric Brown, CMS Project Manager, Boy Scouts of America