With online transactions accounting for the increased share of hotel sales, having strong online sales tools has become critical. The hotel web site is even more challenging to compete with expedia,booking.com and other stakeholders, who have more resources to continually upgrade their site's user experience.
Most independent hotel sites use the third party hotel reservation engine, which is authorized to work with booking channels such as Expedia. Why? This hotel can easily manage the rooms and ratings of all booking channels from one place. So they either adhere to the design and experience of third party services or are brave enough to create their own characteristics.
The UI problem with these sites is that their excellence was a long time ago, but it never changed. Time seems to have stopped around 2004, no matter what new features are added, no significant changes to the existing design. The entire internet is progressing, users have higher demands on the site, and the tolerance for poor user experience is declining. This means that, compared to independent hotel sites, if hotel integrator like Expedia and Booking.com has a better, more comprehensive, simpler booking process, users are even more willing to subscribe through these channels.
But the hotel website is not completely lost. By making the necessary usability adjustments, the hotel site can provide a better experience for customers, or at least not be too annoying.
Availability of Subscription calendars
When users experience the hotel reservation process, the first encounter is to subscribe to the calendar, you want to ensure that it meets and exceed the user's expectations, right? Enter the store and leave the entry box, fill in the current date and the day after, and let the user take a step toward the result you desire. This may sound obvious, but given the fact that many of the hotel's calendar boxes are still blank, a gentle reminder will not hurt anyone.
In addition, when you select the entry date, the Check-out date should also be changed (plus one day) and all previous dates will be marked as not selectable. This basic approach protects against input errors, such as invalid date choices, which is one of Jacob Nielsen's 10 usability inspirations.
Progress bar for Reservations
Users like to control the process and be able to predict how long it will take, so why not show it to them? Often, a good idea is to break down a lengthy hotel room booking process into several steps to make it easier to digest. At the same time, show the progress bar to eliminate the user's lack of knowledge of how much time and effort to complete the task caused by anxiety. Show users how close they are to accomplishing their goals and encourage them to continue with a simple progress bar.
Detailed room information and photos
No, I'm not talking about adding a picture library and a fancy description to your site. What I want to say is that when a user chooses an available room, it is important to show the photos and the necessary room information before the user. Rooms, such as "Deluxe Double Room", "Royal Balcony" and "Standard Room", do not tell the user any information, unless they are matched with relevant pictures and key features, which will be the corresponding room ratings. Also, the larger and more impressive the images you can provide, the more satisfying the user experience will be.
Accurate and easy to understand rating information
The difficulty with the electric business of the hotel's website is that the hotel usually has a different rating for the same period or even the same room type. It is quite challenging to design a simple and understandable rating information selector. Try to clearly highlight the differences between ratings and the additional costs that may be incurred, while eliminating clutter and avoiding the use of small print to explain ratings.
Availability of Subscription forms
This is the most painful part of the booking process in terms of usability. It is important not to allow users to be inundated with extra input boxes that are not required for subscriptions. First, do not require users to register/login to subscribe unless you have the benefit of being able to exchange. Do not use additional tasks to torment users for promotional purposes. That's not a good user experience.
So, what kind of information is in the booking process that the hotel needs.
Sure, there is no default demand list, because each hotel has its own system and operating standards, but usually the most basic is: Full name and email address. In addition, you may need some extra items, such as phone numbers, special requests, and arrival times. A small change in the booking form may result in or ruin your user experience, so be sure to make a A/b test to find the best form structure for your particular site.
Credibility and trust
The hotel site in the eyes of the user is a major weakness, is the credibility. If I could make a reservation based on the long-standing trust and presence of Expedia, why do I have to trust my credit card information to some unknown hotel website? The problem is unavoidable, and as a hotel site, all you need is to securely process and save credit card information. More importantly, use his or her familiar security badge and icon to prove your credibility to the user.
The last Thought
The hotel site is facing severe competition, so a bad user experience is intolerable. Although some usability issues can cause a lot of trouble, or lead to compromise with third-party service providers, these efforts will succeed, creating a better user experience and making customers happier. In such an environment, it is important to know exactly who your users are and to optimize the online booking experience accordingly.
Needless to say, for different age groups, the design of all usability issues and copywriting (designmodo.com) needs to be treated in different ways.
First, take the time to study and understand your target audience, and then think about how to design a better experience for them.