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SeaWorld® Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

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SeaWorld® Yas Island, Abu Dhabi


Bringing the immersive underwater experience alive online

Designing a digital experience that’s fitting of the Middle East's first Marine Life Theme Park means delivering a kaleidoscope of colours as vivid as a coral reef, mesmerizing full-screen visuals and a user experience as exciting as a deep-sea scuba dive.

Hot on the heels of building the award-winning Yasisland.com, Horizontal Digital was raring to go when it came to creating the online destination for the newly-opened SeaWorld Abu Dhabi – the latest addition to the capital’s premier leisure and entertainment hub, Yas Island.

The region’s first Marine Life Theme Park features 8 immersive realms, over 15 interactive rides & experiences, more than 20 live characters and performances, over 100,000 marine animals, and the world's largest multi-species aquarium.

One of the main objectives of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is to educate visitors on the importance of conserving our underwater world which is why it established Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue – the MENA region's first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return facility.

The park’s unwavering commitment to animal welfare has made it the first facility in MENA to be recognized with a Global Humane certification. This is down to initiatives like the Animal Care Center that allows guests to watch veterinarians and marine experts in action.

The theme park’s enthralling “One Ocean” narrative talks to the interconnectedness of life on earth and in the ocean. The story begins the minute you click on the new site and are taken on a journey from exploring the wonders of the deep to booking tickets to see the real thing.

The situation

Making a magical first impression

The SeaWorld Abu Dhabi digital experience offers guests their first glimpse into the region's only Marine Life Theme Park, so it had to make a truly impactful impression.

The ask was therefore to use the latest UI principles to create a visually beautiful journey that brings the wonders of SeaWorld to life online.

In addition to drumming up excitement, the site's primary aim is to encourage users to book tickets to the park and to other attractions on Yas Island. This meant the deployment of best-in-class UX to create a seamless, intuitive booking experience that made it possible for users to purchase tickets in only a few simple steps.

Underpinning the spectacular front end, there needed to be a sophisticated tech architecture that could combine the power of customer data, analytics, AI and marketing automation needed to bring the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi adventure alive online. Sitecore Experience Platform™ (XP) was the obvious choice given its unrivalled ability to deliver personalized, cross-channel experiences.

Once live, the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi digital marketing team needed a CMS that made it easy for them to build their own pages using a pre-existing library of components. XP puts this control in SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s hands, making it easy for the team to upload their own content and pull their own analytics.

The response

A booking experience as exciting as SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s realistic realms

Customer centricity places the user at the heart of every decision, and that’s where Horizontal Digital began formulating its product plan. The discovery phase started with understanding the business goals through a series of stakeholder interviews and workshops to identify and align on the main vision of the product.

A deep dive into the customer’s mind, the business strategy, and in-depth competitor research and benchmarking, allowed Horizontal Digital to create the product strategy and roadmap for the future. The team then embarked on the implementation of an insight-informed digital strategy to deliver visually engaging UI and intuitive UX in an agile and phased out approach until the park opening.

The Experience Design team weaved their creativity into the site with captivating, flowing design that takes the user into a digital underwater world detailing all the various adventures on offer from the tropics to the poles.

Visitors to the site are also educated about SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s conservation and animal welfare initiatives – a key objective of the Marine Life Theme Park experience.

On the back end, Sitecore XP provided the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi digital marketing team with a user-friendly CMS to upload content, along with a powerful analytics engine for them to track the performance of their pages and digital journeys.

The Technology team created over 50 reusable components that SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s digital team can easily populate to build their own future pages and campaigns.

Horizontal Digital also integrated Coveo AI – a market-leading AI-powered enterprise search platform - into the new site allowing for advanced search, recommendation, and personalization functionality, to make each customer journey truly unique.

Seaworldabudhabi.com offers visitors a high-tech and immersive digital experience like no other, so it’s crucial that our site has the same ‘wow’ factor. As the window into our theme park, the site gives guests a shiver of excitement as they quickly and easily curate and book their own adventure and dive into our underwater wonderland.

Digital Marketing Director, Miral Destinations | Euan Mitchell

The results

A digitally advanced site that’s already making waves

The site was ready to withstand unprecedented traffic during the hugely anticipated opening of the MENA region's first Marine Life Theme Park. Bookings have exceeded revenue expectations and guests are making the most of their visits, booking multi-park experiences in addition to the one-of-a-kind SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. 

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