Client: Puketoi Mountain Club

Developing a new website and booking system for a ski lodge

Puketoi Mountain Club is a Wairarapa based club, which was formed in 1951. The club’s hut is in Tennant’s Valley, Whakapapa Ski Area, Mt Ruapehu.

A website was needed to make it easier to provide information to members. Managing bookings by phone and email made the booking officer’s job very time-consuming during the ski season. Moving online would reduce the workload and would make it easier to find people to do the booking officer role in the future. Members also wanted to be able to see availability online rather than having to email the booking officer every time they had a question.

Michael Birch (a member of the club) was elected on to the committee with the role of web designer and developer. It was decided to spread the development workload by introducing features in stages rather than all at once. This also meant that it was an easier transition for both members and the booking officer.

Staged development

Stage one

A sub-committee worked together to plan the structure of the website and the content. After a consultation period with fellow committee members, the website was developed to provide a range of information about the club, the hut, news and events. A booking system was developed which included:

The availability calendar made it easier for members to plan their bookings and had the added benefit of improving hut occupancy. The first stage went live in early July 2017, in time for the ski season. The website remained the same for the 2018 season, giving time for members to get used to the new system.

Stage two

The second stage went live in mid-May 2019. The membership database was integrated into the website and used to create website accounts. This meant that bookings could be restricted to members who were logged-in to their account. All the members were notified by email so that they could login and make bookings. The new system made it easier to book — members no longer had to enter all their own details every time they booked.

Some new content was added to the website that could only be viewed by logged-in users. This included a logbook — an online version of the physical hut logbook.

A Samsung tablet was installed at the hut to display the names of people booked in for each day. This also includes the names of the hut officer and fire warden and any messages that the booking officer had added.

Screenshot of Puketoi admin
Screenshot of the administration section of the Puketoi Mountain Club website


A club member designed a badge in the early 1950s, which was also used on signage and paperwork.

Old sign at the Puketoi Mountain Club hut Puketoi Mountain Club logo

A digital logo was developed that was based on an old sign at the club’s hut.

“We engaged with Michael to build a website for us that would modernize our rather archaic booking system and help our members, especially the new ones, to read how things work at the hut and to keep them all informed in what is going on on a daily basis. I worked through with Michael explaining what I needed and what the members needed. He was a good listener and came up with a great system which works really well for us all. He made it very easy for me to adjust to the new booking system, was very patient and excellent at explaining everything to me being a boomer and not particularly IT savvy.

At our request, he slowly introduced new concepts as we were all getting use to the new system. Whenever I had a problem he would get straight back to me and we could got it sorted straight away. The new booking system is efficient and user friendly now and if I am unable to do it for any reason it is able to be picked up by another member without any difficulty. Gone are the fax machines of old and we now have a great system that works for everyone. The members enjoy being able to check for bed availability and find out anything that is going on at the mountain.”

Kristin Quinn, Booking Officer, Puketoi Mountain Club.

Mockup of the Puketoi Mountain Club website on a MacBook Air

Xero integration

The club has recently moved from MYOB to Xero for accounting. Xero’s contacts are synced with the website’s members. Invoices for annual subs are now generated via the website and approved and sent in Xero.

Puketoi Mountain Club website

Let’s talk about your website

Call me on 027 492 8366 or email me. Or if you prefer, use the enquiry form.