The journey to booking a room on the Travelodge website, like many other hotel ecommerce sites generally falls within the following structure:
Through tests using Hotjar we were able to monitor and analyze the behaviour of our users. Data revealed that on the Hotel Details page users were leaving the site when searching for what was near the hotel ie: restaurants, bars, cinemas, parking and more. Clearly this was down to the use of external links below the map sending the user to other sites.
Links below map sent users outside of the Travelodge site
Working with the Head of Product and Snowdrop Google Platinum Partners we worked on a solution that would enable users to see the location of their hotel and then give them the ability to search for bars, restaurants, tube/train stations etc in the immediate surroundings, whilst also giving the user approximate time and distance information should they wish to travel to these places without ever having to leave the Hotel Details page.
Our hypothesis was that it if we could enable them to search on the website, this would amount to a considerable reduction in bounce rate, ensuring quicker time to booking a room.
Working with Snowdrop I began to mock up ideas for the Hotel Details page using their elements and our templates ensuring design would provide a clean, uniform and seamless transition so as not to lose any customer confidence.
We decided to run a series of lab tests before moving straight into A/B tests live on the site. Although the user information would be drastically less in numbers, it would be beneficial to watch 12 users over 2 days perform tasks we had set so we could watch them under a microscope and see if our assumptions worked or were incorrect, and then we could reiterate before trying the map solution on a live A/B test using Hotjar.
Our lab tests revealed users didn’t know where, how or that there was an ability to search on the map. Although it was obvious to us, they just didn’t see it. This was obviously highly important and provided us with excellent data in understanding our users and may have been harder to understand via Hotjar.
We asked the test users about their issues with the search facility. The bulk of replies: “it just didn’t stand out”. We had assumed that if it worked on Google Maps it would work on Travelodge. Our assumptions proved incorrect, giving weight to the importance of user testing.
After a period of reiterative design, we tested several versions defining the search panel with heavier colours and more enhanced text than the google version ensuring it stood out for the users.
After a series of A/B tests and seeing the bounce rate radically reduced by over 30%, we had enough data to prove our original assumptions and hypothesis for a map solution were correct and confidently replaced the old version with the new.