Special Day Vehicles – The story so far…
Posted on December 20, 2019
In 2016, after a yearlong engagement, me and my now wife, Laura got married. As part of our wedding planning, we decided that we both wanted to hire wedding cars to take us to our wedding venue.
Whilst Laura had her heart set on a classic VW campervan, I wanted something more modern. Based on other weddings I’ve been to, our requirements seemed straightforward, a scenario I imagine is played out across the UK most weekends.
In my mind, based on absolutely no evidence, I’d assumed this would be an easy 5-minute job. Like most things, my search began at Google, I typed “Wedding Car Hire”, clicked search and sat back in my chair and waited for Google to do its magic. Once the “Google magic” was complete, I was looking at hundreds of pages of search results. That’s got to be a good thing, right?
And then things got complicated
Clicking on the first few search results, I soon realised that the companies were based hundreds of miles away from where we live, and I had no idea whether the cars even covered my region not to mention county.
I decided to try a different approach and headed back at Google, changing my search phrase to include my location. Once again, I started scrolling through the search results, I immediately felt more hopeful as I recognised local places and companies in the descriptions. Starting at the first search result, I began trawling my way through the wedding car supplier websites, one-by-one.
After what felt like hours, I’d shortlisted 5 potential suppliers with wedding cars I was interested in hiring. I revisited each supplier's website and completed the various contact us forms. The contact us forms varied from the basic name & email address questions to more specific information about the venue, times of arrival etc. By the time I had completed the 5th contact form I was fed up, a job I had been quite looking forward to and thought would take 5 minutes or less had ended up taking around an hour. Employed as a web developer I immediately started thinking about why this process was so difficult and why what seemed like such a simple task had ended up being so time-consuming and repetitive. At this point, the cogs in my mind started turning...
The lightbulb moment
Over the following days, I started thinking about how the process of searching for wedding cars could be streamlined to make it a simpler task. I liked the idea of only needing to provide my wedding car hire requirements once and then being able to browse a list of vehicles, including the price of hire, knowing that all the vehicles I was looking at matched my exact requirements. I was aware that this was not a revolutionary idea and was being successfully achieved in many other online sectors. I had also previously used, with very little success, generic quote request services who attempted to provide quotes for just about any service imaginable. What seemed to be missing was a “go-to” place for just wedding car hire.
It then occurred to me that vehicle hire was a far bigger part of the wedding process than I was giving it credit, vehicle hire is often an integral part of a wedding day. The dots started to join...
Not only do people want to hire vehicles to take them to their wedding venue, they may also require it for:
- Stag & Hen parties
- Honeymoons > Couples often go on honeymoons. Why drive & park at the expensive airport car park when you can be chauffeured? Or perhaps newlyweds would prefer hiring a self-drive vehicle and going on a road trip?
- Transportation for guests between venues
The next question I asked myself was “Why does it need to be just wedding vehicle hire?” Surely, people not getting married, also book airport transfers, days/nights out and were experiencing similar issues I had booking a wedding car?
With sleeves rolled up
With a real-world problem to solve, I set about planning how I could make this idea a reality.
I began by writing a list of the problems I had encountered whilst trying to book my wedding car and how I thought they could be solved.
The main issues I had encountered searching for wedding cars to hire were:
I struggled to easily find wedding cars that covered the area where I live. In some instances, I had to read long vehicle descriptions and company profiles to find out if the supplier would be willing to travel to my location. On some websites, I had no idea where they were located and left the website none the wiser.
Reliable, accurate search results
We've added a postcode search to specialdayvehicles.co.uk. Users can enter a UK postcode and will only be displayed vehicles which operate within that postcode. We ask vehicle owners to select the areas of the UK they cover. By default, vehicle search results are ordered from closest to furthest from the postcode provided. Vehicle profiles contain a coverage map allowing users to easily visualise the area the vehicle covers. The vehicle coverage map is not just a circle, orbiting the supplier’s address, we’ve developed a geographical information system allowing vehicle owners to highlight the exact areas their vehicles cover.
Knowing that people often plan weddings years ahead, I wasn’t sure if availability would be an issue as I was getting married in around 6 weeks from starting my search. I decided to shortlist & contact 5 different wedding car suppliers, as a result, I had to visit 5 different websites and complete 5 different contact us forms. Out of the 5 suppliers I contacted, I only ever heard back from 2. I have no idea if the other 3 suppliers even received my email.
A straightforward quote request process
specialdayvehicles.co.uk allows users to receive multiple quotes which match their vehicle hire requirements by completing a simple quote request form. The quote request form provides vehicle owners with enough information to provide accurate quotes and removes the need to fill out the contact us forms on vehicle owner's websites.
Using a smartphone, I found some of the websites I visited did not display very well. Working as a web developer, I am fully aware of how difficult it can be to support an ever-growing list of devices.
A modern web application built to function on as many device types as possible
We know how stressful wedding planning can be and want you to have a hassle-free experience using specialdayvehicles.co.uk. We've worked hard to ensure specialdayvehicles.co.uk works on as many device types as possible and will continually make updates to ensure this is the case. If you experience an issue using the site, please contact us.
I found it very difficult to compare vehicles between suppliers. Some websites contained too much information, whilst others were lacking very basic details.
All vehicle profiles display information in the same, simple format
This levels the playing field when comparing vehicles. Each vehicle profile has
- A vehicle introduction
- Vehicle photos
- Basic vehicle details
- Vehicle coverage map
- Contact vehicle owner form & link to the quote request page
We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to specialdayvehicles.co.uk. We officially launched in October 2019 and within 3 months had 130+ vehicles listed.
We are excited about the future and have big plans for the website, working in collaboration with other organisations. If you would like to talk to us about getting involved by listing your vehicle(s) or working with us in other ways, please contact us. We would also love to hear your suggestions and feedback, both good and bad.
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