Wings & Wheels Website Case Study

About Wings & Wheels

Wings & Wheels is a charity air and motoring Show which takes place at Dunsfold Aerodrome, home to BBC's Top Gear, over two days every August bank holiday weekend. With an RAF line-up, which includes the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial flight, as well as private air displays, such as the Blades and Breitling Wingwalkers, it has been running since 2005 and attracts around 35,000 visitors.

Simply Website Support has been managing the website,, since 2010.

Phase 1 brief (2010)

The Wings & Wheels websiteTo create a new website incorporating the Shows updated colour scheme and imagery that not only engaged its target audience of families and aviation and motoring fans, but was functional and easy to navigate providing all the Show information and sales options in a couple of clicks. The website also required a Content Management System (CMS) that could be operated by a variety of different users from staff to volunteers with differing computer skills and hosting which could handle high volumes of traffic, particularly over the event weekend. And finally, provide ongoing site support and maintenance.

Wings & Wheels provided the basic colour scheme, main graphic, logo and imagery which we then worked up into three different design options.

Once the final design was agreed the client was given the option of running Wordpress or Joomla as the CMS. In considering the two options, the future of the site and how it would evolve with the Show were key i.e. integration of an on-line shop. With this in mind the functionality and scope to add modules and grow the site without requiring a complete redesign or significant extra costs meant that Joomla was installed.

Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful on-line applications. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla the most popular Web site software available. Best of all, Joomla is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.

All copy and images were provided by Wings & Wheels and uploaded by Simply Website Support to over 50 pages (including a video and photo gallery) before the site went live in March 2010.

A manual and tutorial on using the CMS functions were provided to the client to enable them to keep the website updated. During peak times in the lead up to the Show Simply Website Support undertook all updating and maintenance of the site.


Phase 2 brief (2011)

A 36 acre arena with retail stands, military zone, stunt zone, catering outlets, a fairground and lots more!With the success of the 2010 Show, the Wings & Wheels team required an on-line store and additional pages of content incorporated into the site for 2011. As well as overall updating of the websites existing content and images, Simply Website Support were asked to continue providing general technical site support, maintenance and hosting.

The Joomla CMS was upgraded in preparation for the installation of a shop module called Tienda, which would allow Wings & Wheels visitors the option to purchase bespoke packages such as VIP hospitality, weekend passes, grandstand and merchandise on-line.

The products were individually uploaded, a secure IP Address allocated and the shop linked to Paypal to take secure payments. Whilst a fairly basic shop, it allowed the client to dip its toe into on-line sales whilst keeping accurate sales records and customer details for marketing purposes. In its first year the total gross revenue from the shop accounted for 23% of the advanced sales and helped to reduce the number of telephone bookings and enquiries to the event office.

Whilst the shop was the largest change to the site, every page on the website was also updated and new images uploaded with the creation of a further 20 pages of new content.

Website visits up 36% on previous year


Phase 3 brief (2012 & 2013)

The Wheels element of Wings & Wheels is a 2 hour motoring displayTo continue the evolution of the Wings & Wheels website to allow visitors easy access, installation of integrated marketing options for distribution and management of Show information, upgrade of the existing online shop and web support in the lead up to the Show.

With site traffic increasing as the Show's popularity and visitor numbers grew, a dedicated server was installed in 2012 to ensure speed and minimal downtime of the website. The dedicated server allowed the website to be closely monitored throughout August in order to implement more temporary resources as the need arose at affordable one off costs.

The general maintenance of the website and inclusion of new content over 2012 and 2013 meant the site increased to more than 100 pages. Within this was the addition of a module which allowed the creation and capture of data from visitors through questionnaires, entry forms and a newsletter mailing system.

The client had previously used Mailchimp for its e-marketing solutions, a paid for on-line system used for communicating with subscribers via e-mail newsletters and advertisements. Each email campaign cost £65 per mailing to approximately 3,000 subscribers.

To reduce costs an e-marketing system was integrated into the back-end of the Wings & Wheels website, enabling the client to manage subscription lists, create on line templates for newsletters and sales material and issue an unlimited number of campaigns at only the cost of the module installation.

The shop content required more sales and data capture options in 2012 so a separate e-commerce system was installed to run in parallel with the Joomla CMS enabling sales options such as camping. Open source e-commerce system Magento was integrated and, with the help of a bridge, Joomla and Magento could work together ensuring visitors to the site only ever saw the same website design and layout.

Magento is a feature-rich eCommerce platform built on open-source technology that provides on-line merchants with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their eCommerce store. Magento's intuitive administration interface features powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalogue-management tools to give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Designed to be completely scalable and backed by Varien's support network, Magento offers companies the ultimate eCommerce solution.

The store's checkout procedure and shipping charges were rigorously tested prior to going live and the existing Paypal system was used for payment processing with a dedicated IP address and an SSL certificate giving visitors peace of mind at checkout.

The shop had a basic upgrade in 2013 which included an extra ticketing option for visitors to reserve a timed tour on one of their main attractions.

The shop accounted for 33% of the advanced sales revenue in 2012 and 36% in 2013.

Website visits in 2012 were up 7% and in 2013 up a further 11%.