Travelodge Hotels Limited is a private company operating in the hotels and hospitality industry throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. Known simply as Travelodge, it is the UK's largest independent hotel brand with over 570 hotels across the UK.
I worked in the Travelodge head office for 16 months defining and delivering work for the Digital and Development teams, the Brand department, the SEO department and the Marketing team while mentoring junior staff members and consulting with C-Suite Stakeholders.
Through tests using Hotjar we were able to monitor and analyze the behaviour of Travelodge 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.
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. We would also incorporate the details of the hotel into the google search box therefore giving the user as much information as possible without having to move up and down the page to search and remove themselves from the task in hand.
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 while taking into account Travelodge's analytical data that we had collected from Hotjar.
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.
"I was fortunate to work with Kai at Travelodge. Kai’s technical skills, combined with his ability to listen and interpret information into high quality designs immediately embedded him into the team. He is customer focused and is skilled at translating problems into real world, customer friendly designs. Kai is a pleasure to work with and I would recommend you review his portfolio."
James Loar – Head of product, Digital