A new experiences marketplace borne out of a passionate belief in local communities - built in Bristol, for Bristol.
Yuup home

Achieved with CookiesHQ since September 2020

  • 50+
    hosts signed up pre-launch
  • 100+
    experiences available
  • 500+
    experiences sold in first two months

Understanding the vision

At the beginning of 2020 CookiesHQ were approached by Project 3 Ventures. They were looking for a technical partner to build a Bristol-centric experiences marketplace called Yuup. As a platform with local communities at its centre, it was important to the team that bringing the vision to life was a truly Bristolian effort.

A lot has been written in recent years about the decline of the high street. The team behind Yuup had been paying attention and decided to do something about it. The vision for Yuup came from a passionate belief in local communities and the role local people and enterprises have in making them thrive.

In March 2020, CookiesHQ undertook a discovery session with Dominic Mills (CEO), Jonathan Simmons (CSO) and Marc Parnell (Co-Founder & Advisor) to investigate the feasibility of an online platform, which would allow hosts to sell experiences and customers to purchase and book experiences online.

Yuup already had a clear idea of what the platform should achieve and how it should behave. The objective is to take advantage of the opportunity the growing market presents and position themselves as the go-to booking engine for local life experiences. Our technical focus was on building three components that come together to make Yuup – for admins, hosts and customers to be launched in September 2020.

Street art of Greta Thunberg in Bristol
Children feeding llama

“Pragmatic and results-focused, highly collaborative yet not afraid to challenge their clients, super creative and technically excellent and most important lovely people. I found the entire Cookies team to be utterly obsessed with delivering a quality product and they totally get the importance of hitting a deadline while delivering value for money. The perfect agency partner for an ambitious start-up.”

- Dominic Mills, Co-founder & CEO of Yuup
Dominic Mills

The Build

We have built all three components from scratch, and our initial focus was on getting the platform functioning for admins and hosts. Through their portal, hosts can manage their account, experiences, pricing, pictures, availability and bookings, which adds another dimension to the typical marketplace build. Yuup’s priority was to onboard hosts so that the platform would have content and experiences ready for launch.

Admins have an overview of the host and customer portals and are also able to edit page content on the site directly. We’ve created page templates that work with a system of bespoke widgets created specifically for Yuup. This allows admins to generate custom content while maintaining a consistent visual experience for the users. The homepage can be regularly updated with customer highlights or featured experiences from week to week. The site also has a blog or ‘stories’ function for the Yuup team and hosts to publish content. Customers can browse, search, book and even gift experiences using the marketplace.

Of course, in the time between our initial meetings with Yuup to the launch in September, the world was hit with a global pandemic. For us at CookiesHQ, this added the challenge of time and availability of the team as schedules had to be reduced to work around lockdown. For the Yuup team, this meant pivoting their strategy to meet local hosts and walking them through the platform virtually. There were, at times, doubts on both sides that the launch date would be feasible. But as a result of hard work on all sides and open communication, we were able to stick with the original plan.

Yuup commissioned an external agency for their UX/UI design, and we’ve enjoyed collaborating with them to refine the platform.

Moving forward, we will be gathering and responding to early adopter feedback with particular focus on growing the host base. The next sprint is starting right away, so watch this space!

Technologies used: Ruby on Rails, ElasticSearch, AWS, Stripe, Xero, Twilio

Child leading reindeer
Yuup search
Yuup on mobile screens

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