Lessons for Reviving Dying WordPress Products through WP Travel’s Eyes

reviving dying WordPress products through WP Travel's eyes

One of the major setbacks for WordPress Product Marketing is hitting that ceiling after which growth starts to stagnate and sales begin to gradually decline. Most WordPress product developers are aware of this fate and dread thinking about it. We discussed this scenario with WordPress product developers and peer enthusiasts. We learned that their dreads were well-founded. In recent years, we have witnessed some of the top-notch WordPress themes and plugins crashing down in terms of revenue. But fortunately, some have fared their way back to success. They had to put in a lot of effort and innovation in reviving dying WordPress products. And in this article, we will share how you could not only save your WordPress theme and plugins but also thrive.

Nothing can beat the amount of happiness you get when you know your product is doing well. The download rates are good and people are buzzing about it. What else a developer would want, right? You might think you got your break, but the reality is different. You cannot just create a product and not deliver updates to further enhance it. So, what do we do? We listen to our audience. You need to respond to your users’ suggestions and slowly work on additional features and products that would add value to the product. But while you are working on these new features and additional by-products, how do you know what you want to develop? Regarding this context, we thought WP Travel would be a great source to get answers to our questions.

WP Travel

WP Travel Homepage

WP Travel – a plugin for travel site on WordPress, launched their second version of the plugin and as a way to find answers to our questions, we asked them a question on this (reviving dying WordPress products) topic. Below are the results. We believe these results might help you also to revisit and scale your products for the WordPress market.

Research

Since the launch of WP Travel plugin in September 2017, so many positive changes have taken place in the Travel and Hospitality industry. Every WordPress plugin and theme caters a specific need—its end objective. Among all the trends in 2018 and also till date is the personalization of user experiences (skift 2018 and Google/Phocuswright, 2018). The whole hospitality industry was focusing more on providing a personalized experience to their end-users.

Apart from that, what remained a major point was that the revenue from online booking in traveling exceeded $92.5 million and 57% of all the reservations in the travel industry was being done online. This fact alone indicated that more and more travel agency operators were taking their business online. I also indicated that all of them were now focused on adding elements to their websites which would help them provide personalized services to their end-users. So, the WP Travel team started researching how they could help Travel Agency Website Developers and by what extensions the travel agency owners would have those features on their website?

They went back to the drawing-room, challenged their founding and existing premises to figure out what they needed to be done in order to improve the plugin and make it non-dispensable to WordPress travel and tour agency programmers. And when they came out of the drawing-room, they had a new and refreshed vision for developing WP Travel 2.0 – the plugin that provides all the capabilities that a travel site requires to offer fully customizable and personalized services to their online customers. All in all, a refreshed plugin that would cut down hundreds of programming hours for developers. Isn’t it great? Of course!

How does it help in WordPress Marketing?

The major factor for a WordPress product, human or any animal species to survive in their ecosystem is Adaptation. And adaptation comes with knowledge of what specific attributes are you willing to sacrifice, to innovate and to add to yourself. It is this constant need to research, contemplate and innovate that keeps every commercial product afloat. A car that was conceived in the 1920s cannot be a hot cake in 2019. Simple. It might be considered an antique piece and might do wonders on sale, but that is just an antique piece. It is not something that anyone belonging to today’s generation or someone wanting to fulfill a function would invest in.

Similarly, a plugin or a theme that you developed two or maybe three years ago cannot be expected to remain relevant to the present day where technologies are getting advanced day by day. In this two-year gap a lot, in terms of programming and designing techniques have changed and the system that it was made for has also probably changed. And above all, the requirements of your end users have also increased. In such a case, if you are not responding to those anticipations and expectations, someone else will. And that would be the end of your product. So, the crux of the story is to remain relevant, updated, and agile.

Elements that the WP Travel team innovated as a response to User Demands:

Since WP Travel set their mind to come up with a better version of the plugin for user convenience, these were the elements they focused on. These are also very helpful in reviving dying WordPress products in today’s world. Check them out.

Innovative User Interface

They level-upped their game in designing the user interface. The new interface brought together all the functionalities of the plugin and made it easier for users to navigate and keep a track of all the travel packages. They believed in providing a seamless user experience. The first thing they realized was the need to provide them a clean dashboard that gives all the data that a travel agency owner would like to see. A brief synopsis of their business performance.

Flexible Dashboard Elements

Depending on individuals and their business, every travel agencies have their own KPIs to track and to work on. And that demands a customizable and flexible user dashboard. In the first version of the plugin, users were bound to use the dashboard element. But with v2.0 – that was not the case. Now the users could select metrics that they wanted to be on their dashboard. That is what personalization is. After all, it’s their business and they would certainly want a flexible dashboard to work on.

Added Bank Deposit Functionality

Though online payment is a preferred mode of payment for a growing number of users across the world, there are still many users who prefer (or are forced) to make bank payments. How do we provide the facility booking your online packages to these type of users? Aren’t we supposed to do something about it as a travel agency operator? Or, isn’t WP Travel responsible for that functionality? With these questions in mind, the v2.0 added the functionality where users of that type could make bank deposits for booking a trip or tour. The requests and suggestions from users were the inspiration behind this decision. This functionality offers personalized care to travel agency owners as well as their users – who want to book tour or trekking packages using bank transfer as the mode of payment!

Prioritize Payment Options

Minding the feedback from their support forum and analyzing data from Google Analytics including other sources, the WP Travel team realized that users from a particular country or geographic region prefer one mode of payment over another. In such a scenario, having to put up default order of payment methods on the site can be cumbersome for your travel site visitors, it would be difficult for them to find and select the payment options. The new version gave the power of prioritizing payment methods to the travel agency owners. If PayPal is the most preferred mode of payment for most of your users followed by PayStack, now the agency owners could order the placement payment gateways accordingly. This allowed the travel agency owners to do business with pleasure with their end-users.

More Hooks for Payment Settings

Customizing payment gateways to fit into your clients’ or your personal needs can be time-consuming or can sometimes result in agonizing experience. Since the introduction of the plugin and the subsequent roll-out of payment gateway addons, the WP Travel had received many requests for customization and additional hooks by developers so that they could do more with the plugin. Through such a move, they expected that it would help developers in corresponding their customers’ needs and help them in developing a more customized and personalized travel agency website.

Lessons – In Short:

The main lesson we received from WP Travel’s experience was “Dive into Research”  – get inside your end-users’ head, figure out what they want by following your customer support feedback and analyzing Google Analytics data, discuss possible changes to the product with your team, figure potential losses and profits, work on the model, and brace for the touchdown. The steps are simple and not impossible at all. One just needs to be passionate and have patience while reviving dying WordPress products.

All of us go through certain changes and have our own lessons. What matters the most is sharing them so that others can learn from it. Do you have stories or struggles as such? Or, if you have any stories like this one, then do share with us. We will try to publish it as our next case study.

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