As a 20-year online leader in travel and leisure retail, Europe-based public company lastminute.com along with its 1,200 employees are committed to enriching the lives of vacationers through comprehensive and enticing products and services. Beyond flight deals and tours, it's the images and videos, whether of that luxury villa in Greece, romantic Parisian street, or exotic stroll through the Marrakech markets, that attract audiences and boost bookings.
In addition to social media and paid advertising, lastminute.com promotes its offers through e-newsletters. Those promotions include over 120,000 images. Multiple teams are involved in producing those media assets, which include a growing number of videos—a complicated workflow that’s a constant challenge. With Cloudinary, lastminute.com now maintains a centralized media library, having adopted the provider’s digital asset management (DAM) solution and automated image transformations for cross-platform consistency and campaign launches.
The results are gratifying:
- A simplified, single-source, and organization-wide workflow
- Tremendous savings in production time and an efficient publishing process
- A fast-loading website with optimized images and videos
This post details the issues faced by lastminute.com and the practical, potent answers from Cloudinary.
Historically, even though technical folks at lastminute.com had been uploading, optimizing, and serving visuals, such as hotel images, through Cloudinary’s APIs, various other teams managed images in separate repositories. Another nontechnical team edited media assets through a different DAM vendor.
"We’d become used to that process and made it work even though inconsistencies occurred frequently in the links for use cases," said Stefano Castelli, lastminute.com’s creative production manager. "As Cloudinary offered more capabilities, including those for DAM, we saw the opportunity to improve not only our efficiency, but also the consistency and quality of user experiences."
In addition, lastminute.com had to tackle the time-consuming process of editing images for new campaigns, which involved designers manually doing that in Photoshop and then uploading the revised version into the old DAM system. In the case of myriad images, those laborious tasks took weeks, delaying campaigns that offered time-limited deals.
With Cloudinary, lastminute.com can securely upload media and then organize them with AI-based tags and metadata for fast and easy search. Also, by moving to Cloudinary, lastminute.com was able to integrate its newly adopted content management system (CMS) with Cloudinary’s APIs, automating the media workflow in a snap.
“That integration means that we can dynamically and optimally compress most of our images, error free,” Castelli beamed. “Talk about peace of mind!” Furthermore, transforming images the Cloudinary way by simply editing the image URL or the UI is a ‘killer feature’ we’re taking advantage of a lot,“ he added.
lastminute.com has modified parameters in image URLs to resize, change the image format, and adjust the image quality. Other transformations, including cropping, blurring, and applying overlays in real time, are in frequent use, too. No more painful download-edit-upload cycles.
In particular, the company took advantage of Cloudinary overlays and image manipulations in launching its Flash Sale offering with specially hand-crafted travel deals for a limited time. “In fact, we populate our landing pages with those deals every week,” said Castelli.
As for video, Castelli had this to say: “Video is continuously gaining popularity and importance so optimizing its performance is key. We can customize the Cloudinary Video Player to suit our brand and optimize videos to reduce our bandwidth and that of our visitors. And we do all that in real time!” Consequently, lastminute.com has been showcasing travel packages more frequently with video, which promises to attract more patrons.
With all its teams managing the media lifecycle on the Cloudinary platform, lastminute.com has simplified its technology stack, enhanced the design team’s workflow, and raised everyone’s productivity.
Besides, the Cloudinary-CMS integration through APIs has accelerated the publishing process. No more manually locating images and their URLs in DAM and pasting the URLs to CMS. By leveraging Cloudinary’s robust features and logic in the lastminute.com CMS, such as smart size and delivery based on content resolution, all the teams need to do is find and select images in the Cloudinary DAM.
“Thanks to Cloudinary,” said Castelli, “we’ve reduced page weight and shortened loading time, dramatically improving our visitors’ experiences. Now they can enjoy our fast, beautiful site while searching for the perfect vacation. Nice!”