Discovery Phase: What is it and Why you need it

Discovery Phase: What is it and Why you need it

27 Sep 2018 Gerard Smith

Some agencies don’t expend a lot of time and effort preparing their clients for the discovery phase and simply go through the motions when the client is in the room on the day. Others neglect this phase entirely, treating as more of a kick-off meeting where they present preconceived ideas and concepts without fully deconstructing the project through research, analysis, exploration and planning. 

But when it comes to commissioning a new website that represents your brand, delivers a smooth visitor experience and, more importantly, put bums on seats, a well planned and executed discovery phase is a critical key to success.

This applies to startups, established accommodation providers, tour operators and everyone in between!

So what is the Discovery Phase?

The goal of the Discovery phase is to understand the bigger picture, and asks “What does success look like?” This is done by defining the projects business goals,  establishing the project scope, and highlighting any potential constraints.

It all starts with you

You are the expert on your business. No one knows as much about your brand, products, the services your business offers and your target consumer than you do. And a great agency knows this.

The discovery phase provides the forum to uncover your perception of your business, your short and long-term commercial goals and the long-term vision for your business.

Website development without a proper discovery phase means designers, developers or project managers won’t be able to understand your business well enough to deliver a customised solution built to satisfy the needs of your users and meet your commercial goals.

Understanding the customer and their journey to maximise website conversion

The better you know your customers, the better your website can align with their needs and positively influence their behaviour. Creating a set of buyer personas can provide you with tremendous insight into your customer's purchase process.

It is well accepted that the path to purchase for travel related bookings means your target persona could be in any of the dream, plan or book stages of their journey.

So by clearly identifying the most common questions and concerns of your personas during these phases, you can create persuasive scenarios that lead them from 1. home page, 2. through content pathways that inspire, educate, engage, and then 3. ultimately convert your visitors into bookings.

Defining project deliverables and scope  


A robust discovery phase ensures all project requirements and technical functionality are identified and agreed on early in the project cycle. This provides both you and your agency partner with clarity around the overall project scope, timeline and budget.  

Having a blueprint for your project that confirms your design and functionality deliverables also negates the risks associated with not having a properly defined project scope (which leads to unnecessary re-work causing costly budget and project overruns).

In summary

If you want a website that works, converts, and is visually stunning, you need to work with an agency partner that understands the intrinsic value derived from a well planned and executed discovery process.

This will go a long ways towards creating a website that operates as an extension of your business and its brand, and that explicitly fulfils the needs of your customers.

Looking for an agency partner? We happen to know a great one.  Let’s chat!

Ready for your digital transformation? Talk to us today!

About Gerard Smith

A business development and relationship specialist, Gerard comes to Fastrack with over 15 years of tourism industry experience. During his career, Gerard has been responsible for the sales, marketing and brand development of a number of high profile tourism organisations including Tourism Tasmania, Village Roadshow Theme Parks and Resort, and Tourism Malaysia. More recently Gerard has held senior management roles with some of Australasia's leading digital agencies, where he focussed on building successful commercial partnerships with leading tourism organisations, including Tourism New Zealand, Real Journeys, Skyline Enterprises and Hobbiton, to name a few.

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