When gathering information and booking travel, brands leverage UX to impart a positive brand experience. With UX as the new brand, we compiled the most common UX problems for travel websites.
1. Cluttered layouts
Some websites overload their user with too much information resulting in a heavy cognitive load. Sure, the landing page is prime real estate and it is tempting to squeeze special offers and product offerings on the landing page. Keeping it simple lets the user focus on the task at hand.
On the landing page, the user is greeted simple layout that focusses on the search bar with a clear call-to-action. Once the user starts typing, the page changes to a more dynamic search page. Trivago understands their customers’ objectives and presents them with a clear and clutter-free search experience.
2. Unintuitive fields
A drop-down menu for the destination, especially when most of the text is obscured, slows down the search tremendously. If input values or destinations are limited, a hybrid text box and drop down menu works best. During exploratory sessions, users may conduct several searches at a time and will be slowed down by drop down menus.
Autocomplete search not only helps the user execute a search quickly but can also guide users who want to explore options in a specific country rather than a city.
3. Easy navigation
Progress tracker that informs the user where they are in the buying process, what’s to come, and drives users to seek completion. This feature is a must-have for airlines and helps to logically structure the booking process.
An interactive map gives users a dynamic method of searching. Maps that refresh the search parameters based on geography or destination-based pricing can also be a source of inspiration for travelers.
4. Not personalised for the user
TripAdvisor gives users the option to choose their currency and language. Unlinking the two offers a truly customisable user experience.
New visitors vs. returning visitors
When new visitors land on your page, recommendations and popular destinations are ideal for creating inspiration if they are not set on where to go.
On the other hand, returning visitors should be greeted with recently viewed or recently searched offers that give them a more personalised experience. Returning users are 2x more likely to purchase during a session, hence the importance of personalising the page.
5. Choosing a date is tedious
Finding the best deal on flights can be a long process and can be tough when the prices are so volatile. Skyscanner makes researching easy based on the certainty of the users.
If a customer has specific travel dates, choosing the date is easy on the calendar. An important UX point is to include the days from the previous and following month.
If dates are flexible, Skyscanner gives the option of choosing the month, even the cheapest month.
6. Neglecting Mobile UX
Optimising your content across all devices should be standard in 2016. Users are likely to conduct some portion of their research on mobile. Although the sessions may be shorter, users need to be able to find information quickly.
HotelTonight is geared towards the spontaneity of booking last minute hotel deals. With this in mind, they optimised their mobile site with UX best practices such as larger buttons and ensuring that the credit card input field prompts the number pad.
7. Ignoring the power of copywriting
Copywriting is often an afterthought in UX. Reassuring language can help ease anxiety about the booking. Also, giving customers contextual information, such as limited inventory or other customers, nudges them to purchase. A great example is seen on Booking.com:
Customers often open multiple tabs or "page park" when trying to find the best deal. When a user switches back and forth between tabs, the title of the page changes to the price. A minute detail like this that transforms and expedites the discovery process helps the user to purchase faster.
8. Not including reviews
In the search listings page, Hotels.com not only integrated TripAdvisor reviews with their own customer reviews but also highlighted listings that were favoured by other users. Social proof is an important driver to purchase.
9. User inspiration
In general, e-commerce websites with clean, efficient designs to promote professionalism and win the customer’s trust. However, the differentiating factor for getting your customer to purchase rests on the brand’s ability to inspire wanderlust.
Onefinestay uses large, high-res images with a lot of light and makes the rooms look spacious and inviting. High-impact images evoke emotions with the user and draws the user in visually.
When researching for an upcoming holiday, customers often gather as many options as possible. The wishlist function on AirBnB is easy to use and can be shared with traveling companions or your brand's community-at-large.
Travellers’ needs are constantly evolving. Travel brands need to find the right combination of user-focussed functionality with inspirational content. The consumer purchase journey is a long process and the travel sector is highly competitive. By offering a pleasant and efficient user experience, travel brands can compete on other factors other than price and drive consumer loyalty.
To read more about user behaviour on travel websites, check out our latest study on how users book their holidays.