Tag Archives: hotels

Thumbnail

How To Design Search For Your Mobile App




How To Design Search For Your Mobile App

Suzanne Scacca



Why is Google the search behemoth it is today? Part of the reason is because of how it’s transformed our ability to search for answers.

Think about something as simple as looking up the definition of a word. 20 years ago, you would’ve had to pull your dictionary off the shelf to find an answer to your query. Now, you open your phone or turn on your computer, type or speak the word, and get an answer in no time at all and with little effort on your part.

This form of digital shortcutting doesn’t just exist on search engines like Google. Mobile apps now have self-contained search functions as well.

Is a search bar even necessary in a mobile app interface or is it overkill? Let’s take a look at why the search bar element is important for the mobile app experience. Then, we’ll look at a number of ways to design search based on the context of the query and the function of the app.

Using The Web With A Screen Reader

Did you know that VoiceOver makes up 11.7% of desktop screen reader users and rises to 69% of screen reader users on mobile? It’s important to know what sort of first-hand difficulties visually impaired users face and what web developers can do to help. Read article →

Mobile App Search Is Non-Negotiable

The search bar has been a standard part of websites for years, but statistics show that it isn’t always viewed as a necessity by users. This data from Neil Patel and Kissmetrics focuses on the perception and usage of the search bar on e-commerce websites:


Kissmetrics site search infographic


Data from a Kissmetrics infographic about site search. (Source: Kissmetrics) (Large preview)

As you can see, 60% of surveyed users prefer using navigation instead of search while 47% opt for filterable “search” over regular search functionality.

On a desktop website, this makes sense. When a menu is well-designed and well-labeled — no matter how extensive it may be — it’s quite easy to use. Add to that advanced filtering options, and I can see why website visitors would prefer that to search.

But mobile app users are a different breed. They go to mobile apps for different reasons than they do websites. In sum, they want a faster, concentrated, and more convenient experience. However, since smartphone screens have limited space, it’s not really feasible to include an expansive menu or set of filters to aid in the navigation of an app.

This is why mobile apps need a search bar.

You’re going to find a lot of use for search in mobile apps:

  • Content-driven apps like newspapers, publishing platforms, and blogs;
  • e-Commerce shops with large inventories and categorization of those inventories;
  • Productivity apps that contain documents, calendars, and other searchable records;
  • Listing sites that connect users to the right hotel, restaurant, itinerary, item for sale, apartment for rent, and so on;
  • Dating and networking apps that connect users with vast quantities of “matches”.

There are plenty more reasons why you’d need to use a search bar on your mobile app, but I’m going to let the examples below speak for themselves.

Ways To Design Search For Your Mobile App

I’m going to break down this next section into two categories:

  1. How to design the physical search element in your mobile app,
  2. How to design the search bar and its results within the context of the app.

1. Designing The Physical Search Element

There are a number of points to consider when it comes to the physical presence of your app search element:

Top Or Bottom?

Shashank Sahay explains why there are two places where the search element appears on a mobile app:

  • 1. Full-width bar at the top of the app.
    This is for apps that are driven by search. Most of the time, users open the app with the express purpose of conducting a search.

Facebook app search


Facebook prioritizes app search by placing it at the top. (Source: Facebook) (Large preview)

Facebook is a good example. Although Facebook users most likely do engage with the news feed in the app, I have a sneaking suspicion that Facebook’s data indicates that the search function is more commonly engaged with — at least in terms of first steps. Hence, why it’s placed at the top of the app.

  • 2. A tab in the bottom-aligned navigation bar.
    This is for apps that utilize search as an enhancement to the primary experience of using the app’s main features.

Let’s contrast Facebook against one of its sister properties: Instagram. Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a very simple social media app. Users follow other accounts and get glimpses into the content they share through full-screen story updates as well as from inside their endless-scroll news feed.


Instagram app search


Instagram places its search function in the bottom navigation bar. (Source: Instagram) (Large preview)

With that said, the search function does exist in the navigation bar so that users can look up other accounts to peruse through or follow.

As far as this basic breakdown goes, Sahay is right about how placement of search correlates with intention. But the designing of the search element goes beyond just where it’s placed on the app.

Shallow Or Deep?

There will be times when a mobile app would benefit from a search function deep within the app experience.

You’ll see this sort of thing quite often in e-commerce apps like Bed Bath & Beyond:


Bed Bath & Beyond app search


Bed Bath & Beyond uses deep search to help users find nearby stores (Source: Bed Bath & Beyond) (Large preview)

In this example, this search function exists outside of the standard product search on the main landing page. Results for this kind of search are also displayed in a unique way which is reflective of the purpose of the search:


Bed Bath & Beyond map search results


Bed Bath & Beyond displays search results on a map. (Source: Bed Bath & Beyond) (Large preview)

There are other ways you use might need to use “deep” search functions on e-commerce apps.

Think about stores that have loads of comments attached to each product. If your users want to zero in on what other consumers had to say about a product (for example, if a camping tent is waterproof), the search function would help them quickly get to reviews containing specific keywords.

You’ll also see deep searches planted within travel and entertainment apps like Hotels.com:


Hotels.com app search


Hotels.com includes a deep search to narrow down results by property name. (Source: Hotels.com) (Large preview)

You’re all probably familiar with the basic search function that goes with any travel-related app. You enter the details of your trip and it pulls up the most relevant results in a list or map format. That’s what this screenshot is of.

However, see where it says “Property Name” next to the magnifying glass? This is a search function within a search function. And the only things users can search for here are actual hotel property names.

Bar, Tab, Or Magnifying Glass?

This brings me to my next design point: how to know which design element to represent the search function with.

You’ve already seen clear reasons to use a full search bar over placing a tab in the navigation bar. But how about a miniaturized magnifying glass?

Here’s an example of how this is used in the YouTube mobile app:


YouTube app search icon


YouTube uses a magnifying glass to represent its search function. (Source: YouTube) (Large preview)

The way I see it, the magnifying glass is the search design element you’d use when:

  • One of the primary reasons users come to the app is to do a search,
  • And it competes against another primary use case.

In this case, YouTube needs the mini-magnifying glass because it serves two types of users:

  1. Users that come to the app to search for videos.
  2. Users that come to the app to upload their own videos.

To conserve space, links to both exist within the header of the YouTube app. If you have competing priorities within your app, consider doing the same.

“Search” Or Give A Hint?

One other thing to think about when designing search for mobile apps is the text inside the search box. To decide this, you have to ask yourself:

“Will my users know what sort of stuff they can look up with this search function?”

In most cases they will, but it might be best to include hint text inside the search bar just to make sure you’re not adding unnecessary friction. Here’s what I mean by that:

This is the app for Airbnb:


Airbnb app search text


Airbnb offers hint text to guide users to more accurate search results. (Source: Airbnb) (Large preview)

The search bar tells me to “Try ‘Costa de Valencia’”. It’s not necessarily an explicit suggestion. It’s more helping me figure out how I can use this search bar to research places to stay on an upcoming trip.

For users that are new to Airbnb, this would be a helpful tip. They might come to the site thinking it’s like Hotels.com that enables users to look up things like flights and car rentals. Airbnb, instead, is all about providing lodging and experiences, so this search text is a good way to guide users in the right direction and keep them from receiving a “Sorry, there are no results that match your query” response.

2. Designing The Search Bar And Results In Context

Figuring out where to place the search element is one point to consider. Now, you have to think about how to present the results to your mobile app users:

Simple Search

This is the most basic of the search functions you can offer. Users type their query into the search bar. Relevant results appear below. In other words, you leave it up to your users to know what they’re searching for and to enter it correctly.

When a relevant query is entered, you can provide results in a number of ways.

For an app like Flipboard, results are displayed as trending hashtags:


Flipboard app search results


Flipboard displays search results as a list of hashtags. (Source: Flipboard) (Large preview)

It’s not the most common way you’d see search results displayed, but it makes sense in this particular context. What users are searching for are categories of content they want to see in their feed. These hashtagged categories allow users to choose high-level topics that are the most relevant to them.

ESPN has a more traditional basic search function:


ESPN app search results


ESPN has designed its search results in a traditional list. (Source: ESPN) (Large preview)

As you can see, ESPN provides a list of results that contain the keyword. There’s nothing more to it than that though. As you’ll see in the following examples, you can program your app search to more closely guide users to the results they want to see.

Filtered Search

According to the aforementioned Kissmetrics survey, advanced filtering is a popular search method among website users. If your mobile app has a lot of content or a vast inventory of products, consider adding filters to the end of your search function to improve the experience further. Your users are already familiar with the search technique. Plus, it’ll save you the trouble of having to add advancements to the search functionality itself.

Yelp has a nice example of this:


Yelp app search filters


Yelp users have filter options available after doing a search. (Source: Yelp) (Large preview)

In the search above, I originally looked for restaurants in my “Current Location”. Among the various filters displayed, I decided to add “Order Delivery” to my query. My search query then became:

Restaurants > Current Location > Delivery

This is really no different than using breadcrumbs on a website. In this case, you let users do the initial work by entering a search query. Then, you give them filters that allow them to narrow down their search further.

Again, this is another way to reduce the chances that users will encounter the “No results” response to their query. Because filters correlate to actual categories and segmentations that exist within the app, you can ensure they end up with valid search results every time.

e-Commerce websites are another good use case for filters. Here is how Wayfair does this:


Wayfair app search filters


Wayfair includes filters in search to help users narrow down results. (Source: Wayfair) (Large preview)

Wayfair’s list of search results is fairly standard for an e-commerce marketplace. The number of items are displayed, followed by a grid of matching product images and summary details.

Here’s the thing though: Wayfair has a massive inventory. It’s the same with other online marketplaces like Amazon and Zappos. So, when you tell users that their search query produced 2,975 items, you need a way to mitigate some of the overwhelm that may come with that.

By placing the Sort and Filter buttons directly beside the search result total, you’re encouraging users to do a little more work on their search query to ensure they get the best and most relevant results.

Predictive Search

Autocomplete is something your users are already familiar with. For apps that contain lots of content, utilizing this type of search functionality could be majorly helpful to your users.

For one, they already know how it works and so they won’t be surprised when related query suggestions appear before them. In addition, autocomplete offers a sort of personalization. As you gather more data on a user as well as the kinds of searches they conduct, autocomplete anticipates their needs and provides a shortcut to the desired content.

Pinterest is a social media app that people use to aggregate content they’re interested in and to seek out inspiration for pretty much anything they’re doing in life:


Pinterest app search autocomplete


Pinterest anticipates users’ search queries and provides autocomplete shortcuts. (Source: Pinterest) (Large preview)

Take a look at the search results above. Can you tell what I’ve been thinking about lately? The first is how I’m going to decorate my new apartment. The second is my next tattoo. And despite only typing out the word “Small”, Pinterest immediately knew what’s been top-of-mind with me as of recent. That doesn’t necessarily mean I as a user came to the app with that specific intention today… but it’s nice to see that personalized touch as I engage with the search bar.

Another app I engage with a lot is the Apple Photos app:


Apple Photos app search


Apple Photos uses autocomplete to help users find the most relevant photos. (Source: Apple) (Large preview)

In addition to using it to store all of my personal photos, I use this on a regular basis to take screenshots for work (as I did in this article). As you can imagine, I have a lot of content saved to this app and it can be difficult finding what I need just by scrolling through my folders.

In the example above, I was trying to find a photo I had taken at Niagara Falls, but I couldn’t remember if I had labeled it as such. So, I typed in “water” and received some helpful autocomplete suggestions on “water”-related words as well as photos that fit the description.

I would also put “Recent Search” results into this bucket. Here’s an example from Uber:


Uber app recent search results


Uber’s recent search results provide one-click shortcuts to repeat users. (Source: Uber) (Large preview)

Before I even had a chance to type my search query in the Uber app, it displays my most recent search queries for me.

I think this would be especially useful for people who use ride-sharing services on a regular basis. Think about professionals who work in a city. Rather than own a car, they use Uber to transport to and from their office as well as client appointments. By providing a shortcut to recent trips in search results, the Uber app cuts down the time they spend booking a trip.

If you have enough data on your users and you have a way to anticipate their needs, autocomplete is a fantastic way to personalize search and improve the overall experience.

Limited Search

I think this time savings point is an important one to remember when designing search for mobile apps.

Unlike websites where longer times-on-page matter, that’s not always the case with mobile apps. Unless you’ve built a gaming or news app where users should spend lots of time engaging with the app on a daily basis, it’s not usually the amount of time spent inside the app that matters.

Your goal in building a mobile app is to retain users over longer periods, which means providing a meaningful experience while they’re inside it. A well-thought-out search function will greatly contribute to this as it gets users immediately to what they want to see, even if it means they leave the app just a few seconds later.

If you have an app that needs to get users in and out of it quickly, think about limiting search results as Ibotta has done:


Ibotta app search categories


Ibotta displays categories that users can search in. (Source: Ibotta) (Large preview)

While users certainly can enter any query they’d like, Ibotta makes it clear that the categories below are the only ones available to search from. This serves as both a reminder of what the app is capable of as well as a means for circumventing the search results that don’t matter to users.

Hotels.com also places limits on its search function:


Hotels.com limiting search results


Hotels.com forces users to make a choice so they don’t end up with too many results. (Source: Hotels.com) (Large preview)

As you can see here, users can’t just look for hotels throughout the country of Croatia. It’s just too broad of a search and one that Hotels.com shouldn’t have to provide. For one, it’s probably too taxing on the Hotels.com server to execute a query of that nature. Plus, it would provide a terrible experience for users. Imagine how many hotels would show up in that list of results.

By reining in what your users can search for and the results they can see, you can improve the overall experience while shortening the time it takes them to convert.

Wrapping Up

As you can see here, a search bar isn’t some throwaway design element. When your app promises a speedy and convenient experience to its users, a search bar can cut down on the time they have to spend inside it. It can also make the app a more valuable resource as it doesn’t require much work or effort to get to the desired content.

Smashing Editorial
(ra, yk, il)


Jump to original:  

How To Design Search For Your Mobile App

A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work

Our traffic bounces all over the place. We have social. We have email. We have paid ads. There’s more sites, platforms, and networks than we could possibly hope to run our campaigns on. How do we keep track of it all? How do we know what’s working and what’s not? We use UTM codes. What’s a UTM? UTM stands for Urchin tracking parameters. They’re little pieces of data that we add to our URLs in order to see where different traffic comes from. They were introduced way back with an analytics tool called Urchin, the tool that was bought by…

The post A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Visit site: 

A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work

4 Ways to SEO Proof Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

influencer marketing and SEO

A few years ago, there was a joke that was going around on the internet. It goes something like this: “What is the best place to hide evidence of your wrongdoings? Page 2 of Google Search results!” While the joke itself may have been created in good humor, it does imply something extremely important. It’s crucial for businesses to compete for higher visibility in search results. Consumers are more dependent on the internet than any other medium, making search ranking crucial for businesses to attract potential customers. More often than not, people only look at the first page of search…

The post 4 Ways to SEO Proof Your Influencer Marketing Strategy appeared first on The Daily Egg.

View original post here – 

4 Ways to SEO Proof Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Thumbnail

Multivariate Test increases CTA Button Clickthroughs by 9.1%

The Company

Established in 1976 primarily as a residential condominium management organization, Provident Hotels & Resorts quickly evolved into a pioneer of the Condominium Hotel Industry. By 1980, they had established one of the first “condo-hotel” properties on the Gulf Coast of Florida. You can reserve rooms in hotels, resorts and condos in Florida on their website providentresorts.com

The Test

To find out the most promising combination of form title and CTA button text, Sabre Hospitality Solutions Digital Marketing team — the agency hired by providentresorts.com to optimize their website — performed a multivariate test with VWO.

Since the reservation console is visible on all their pages, the test was run sitewide by using *websitename.com* pattern to match all URLs.

This is how it looks:

Provident Resorts Winning Variation Shot 1

And after clicking on the dates, the CTA appears which looks like this:

Provident Resorts Winning Variation Shot2

The original title on the form, “Make a Reservation” was tested against two variations – “Book Your Stay” and “Reserve a Room”. The text on CTA button had four variations – “Check Availability” (original), “Book Now”, “Find Rooms” and “Search”.

They wanted to see which combination of form title and button text would drive most visitors to check for rates and availability of rooms. The goal that was tracked in this test was the clicks on the CTA button.

Since there were 3 variations of the first element (form title) and 4 variations of the second element (CTA button text), VWO automatically generated 12 combinations (3X4) to be pitted against each other.

This is how different variations of the form title and the CTA button text combined to form 12 variations:

MVT table

The Result

The test was run on a total of 27,500 visitors and the traffic was equally split among the 12 combinations.

After the test was run for a month, combination 12 (Reserve a Room and Search) won and recorded 9.1% improvement in CTR.

Why “Reserve a Room” + “Search” combination worked:

In the words of Kelsey, Web Strategy Manager at Sabre Hospitality Solutions, “I think the 12th combination won because the “Reserve a Room” headline describes exactly what the user is trying to do when they click on the call-to-action button. They are going to “Search” for rooms that are available during that timeframe, looking to reserve a room doing the desired timeframe they select. When someone thinks about making a reservation, they may consider that with a reservation at a restaurant. But I think Reserve a Room is specific to hotels to tell the user that they are only looking to reserve a room when they click-through this reservation console to initiate this process. Additionally, search is the immediate action that happens when they click-through to the console.

Let’s Talk

Tell me what do you think about this multivariate testing case study. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

VWO Walkthrough/span>

The post Multivariate Test increases CTA Button Clickthroughs by 9.1% appeared first on VWO Blog.

Visit site -  Multivariate Test increases CTA Button Clickthroughs by 9.1%

Thumbnail

14 Actionable Tips to Increase Travel Website Bookings

14 CRO tips

So the visitors land on your travel website, search for flights and accommodation and then randomly leave without completing the booking — almost on a whim. If your website has also been seeing a similar trend, then you are not alone.

On an average, more than 95% traffic coming on hotel, airline and tour packages websites leave without completing the purchase process. Why? Because travel eCommerce is one of the trickiest online businesses — thanks to lengthy marketing funnels, complex search parameters, complicated checkout processes, multiple forms and massive personalization. The average conversion rate (% of website visitors turning into customers) of travel websites is a dismal 4% — far below the 10% conversion rate of financial and media firms.

Travel conversion rate

But you can always improve this figure by optimizing your website so that more visitors turn to customers. Here are 14 tips you can implement on your website to make more visitors convert — complete the transaction.

1) Make your ‘Site Search’ smart and intuitive

Search box
William Shatner pointing his finger towards the search box acts as a directional cue for visitors

For no other industry is the search function as critical as for travel websites. In the case of eCommerce stores, visitors operate in the ‘browsing and finding’ mode. They may or may not use a site search. But when it comes to travel sites, the entire premise of the prospective transaction is based on site search. Only when a visitor selects a location and a date, will he find relevant results from which he/she will make a choice. Not only should your site search be extremely fast and accurate, it should be as intuitive as possible.

There are four key search parameters — date, location, budget and number of people. You can use drop-down menus for calendar and locations, and pre-define different budget categories for visitors to choose from. You can also save their booking history and populate past search parameters for convenience.

Personalization
Expedia gives the visitors a Scratchpad in which their search history is saved

2) How and what you display in site search results is crucial

The result page that appears after a visitor inputs his search combination can overwhelm a visitor into abandonment if the information is presented in a haphazard manner. It’s important that the visitor gets all the needed information without having to leave the funnel. The flight and hotel options should be displayed in a clean layout with pricing being highlighted.

Search results page
Priceline encapsulates its call to action button (Choose) and Price to draw visitors’ attention

An editable search bar should also be prominently displayed so that the visitor can modify the search results without hitting the back button.

3) The progress bar is your lifeboat

Progress bar

The booking process is extremely complex with many steps in the booking funnel – hotel booking, flight booking, amenities, cab pick and drop. Complex booking experiences make travelers switch to higher cost offline channels. In a survey conducted among US passengers, it was found that at least 18% of travelers don’t find online planning and booking easy.

It’s extremely difficult to cut down on the amount of information that must be collected during the booking process. But dividing the process into identifiable steps makes customers’ life much easier. These identifiable steps are like road signs — the customer will know what lies ahead after they complete that step.

4) This is the add-ons market: Upsell and Cross-sell with elan

Cross-sell and Up-sell

Would they want to add on travel insurance as a package deal? Or perhaps, get flight seats with extra legroom at a little extra cost? Or may be extend the trip by three days to get a steal of a deal? The options for add-ons, cross-sells and upsells are immense in the online travel business — extra baggage, hotel upgrades, meals — all are additional services that could be clubbed with the booking to increase the average order value.

According to a TripAdvisor survey, free Wi-Fi is the most requested hotel amenity with 89% of travelers wanting it, followed by free parking and breakfast. However, you need to take care of two things when it comes to upselling and cross-selling. First: Don’t offer an upsell option when the visitor is at the checkout. You don’t tell the traveler what they don’t have and confuse them when they are about to close the deal. Secondly, don’t auto-check the add-ons as the customer might not notice them at that point but would get mighty pissed when they see the inflated cost at the checkout.

5) Personalization is the key

The incredible thing about online travel is that every booking is personalized to some extend. One traveler might always go for free Wi-fi as a criterion for hotel booking while another might always choose flights with 100% on-time record. Using a personalization tool to remember travelers’ booking history will help you make relevant offers the next time they come to your website. You could also track their in-session activity to understand their behavior and booking habits.

Recommendations
Travelocity makes recommendations to travelers on the basis of their past results

When you display the search results, you could also put badges on thumbnails to highlight a particular feature the traveler requested the last time. It’s a great way to catch their attention and offer relevant information really fast.

6) If you know them enough, offer recommendations

This is the second part of the personalization process. If a traveler has booked with you a couple of times, that’s good enough information for you to offer trip recommendations. If there is a lot of consistency in their booking behavior — sea-facing hotels, family trips, spa and recreational activities — you can assume he/she is a leisure traveler and accordingly recommend similar travel experiences.

A global hotel chain ran an A/B test in which it replaced its search widget with a recommendations widget on its search results page. This increased the hotel’s revenue by $658,000.

7) Leave no room for ambiguity

Any information that is vague and open to reader’s interpretation is a potential conversion barrier. The multitude steps involved in the booking process are anyways a hindrance to smooth web experience. Review all the information throughout the funnel for ambiguities.

For example, when you ask visitors for their age, you might be showing them three options to choose from – kid, adult and elderly. Now you might think you have communicated yourself clearly but what about someone who is 17? He definitely does not think of himself as a kid and neither is he legally an adult. Or what about someone who is 59? An adult or elderly? There’s always some room for confusion here. And if the ticket prices vary according to these groups, then the visitor won’t think twice before abandoning you for some other website which clearly states the age group, like this:

Clarity of information

Here’s another example of ambiguity. By looking at their analytics, Expedia found that many of their visitors were clicking the booking button but weren’t completing the transaction. After some analysis, they found that an optional field on the booking form (called ‘Company’) was confusing the travelers. The visitors thought the field required them to enter their bank name. Having entered the bank name, they then went on to enter their bank address (not home) in the address field. This was causing the credit card transaction to fail. Expedia simply deleted the ‘Company’ field and reaped in higher profits. (Here’s the full case study)

Here’s a look at what all information leisure travelers are interested in at the time of planning a holiday.

Information sought by travelers

8) Make room for the last minute traveler

Last-minute queries on mobile device for hotels and accommodations went up by 79% during January 2012 compared to 2011. Tap into this most obvious market segment by prominently displaying a ‘Express booking’ button on your homepage.

9) Make them an offer they can’t refuse

The world of online travel is an unfair one. Google analysis shows that an average travel shopper visits 22 websites (Yessir, not a typo) in multiple shopping sessions before finally booking a trip. Planning a holiday is a thoughtful and complicated process with the visitor going on a ‘Control + W’ spree at the slightest of whims and inconveniences. You have to get their attention really fast and make them act right away in order to score transactions. One of the ways to do that is by using the Urgency principle — one of the six persuasive psychology principles mentioned in Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence’.

Last few tickets available at discounted price’
Book now to get a free hotel upgrade’
Book in the next one hour to get free wine on arrival
‘Get complimentary breakfast if booked in the next 30 minutes

There are endless ways to generate urgency and dissuade the visitors to go on a website hopping spree. However, be reasonable and don’t make a promise you can’t keep because that will just tarnish your reputation.

Creating urgency
Booking.com constantly updates its booking status to create a sense of scarcity and urgency

10) Wear nice shoes

Men are judged by the appearance of their shoes. And the authenticity of your business is judged by the appearance of your website. Shoddy design, clumsy layout, too many rotating image carousels, misspellings, bad grammar, unrecognizable security logos and no trust badges are all signs of a possible fake. Online frauds are the order of the day and visitors are ever more cautious about revealing their personal and credit card information online. Hence, it’s very important that your website oozes trust and authenticity.

Marriott homepage
Marriott’s homepage has a minimalist classy design which evokes credibility

When you are asking for their credit card information, display a security seal along with it. Use testimonials, customer reviews, media coverage and privacy policies to win the visitor’s trust. Hotels and airlines should ensure their booking processes are secure.

Planetamex, a travel agency, didn’t come across as credible due to the use of dated logos and award seals on its website. They ran an A/B test and replaced the homepage banner with the one built around the credibility markers of the AMEX brand. This new version increased their phone call conversions by 48%.

11) Don’t make them hunt for the login button

Login button

The customers will return to your website to update, modify or cancel their bookings or just to look up flight schedule, flight number, hotel location or any of the various pieces of information that make a booking. They will also come back to look up their frequent flier miles or seek information about the loyalty programs. Make sure you display the Login button pretty prominently on the homepage as Delta does above so that the customer doesn’t have to frustratingly hunt for them.

12) Reviews are a goldmine

Reviewers' ratings

Reviews are a great form of social proof in any kind of online business. But if you are into the travel business, their importance can’t be emphasized enough. Here are some thundering facts about reviews in the online travel business.

A word of caution though. Don’t go about faking reviews, because frankly it shows.

13) Make sure your website works seamlessly across all devices

If you haven’t done this by now. Get up from that couch and get to work right away. Because if your mobile and tablet sites are not optimized for conversions, you are pissing off a mighty chunk of potential customers, and losing reputation and money alike. Want some hard facts? Here are a few:

Mobile and tablet data(Source: The Connected Traveler Report)

Invest in a responsive design so that the visitor has a seamless experience across all devices. And if you have different websites for mobile and tablet, make sure they have the same functionality and features.

14) Invest in cool tools

Let’s face it. The competition in online travel and hospitality segment is immense with little distinguishing one website from another. If you want to be noticed amid the crowd, you will have to go an extra mile and offer a unique service and tool no one else is offering (or at least offer it in a cooler way).

Kayak offers an ‘explore’ tool that let’s you scan the world map for places you can travel to within a specified budget.

Explore tool

Similarly, Bing Travel had a cool ‘price predictor’ tool which would forecast whether fares for a particular flight and location would increase or go down. Alas! Microsoft killed the tool earlier this year, much to the disdain of travelers.

The First Optimization Step

If you are just beginning with the optimization process, looking at the maximum drop off page in your analytics would be a good starting point to fix the leaking conversions. Should you have any questions about website optimization, conversions, A/B testing and Matthew McConaughey, please drop in a message in the comment section.

The post 14 Actionable Tips to Increase Travel Website Bookings appeared first on VWO Blog.

Read the article – 

14 Actionable Tips to Increase Travel Website Bookings

Thumbnail

Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

The email newsletter is a powerful marketing and communication tool that has various useful functions. It reminds your users about you; it informs users about your products; it tells them what you have been up to; and it helps you build a unique relationship with them. Users like email newsletters if the newsletters bring them value.
The fundamental rule for creating an email newsletter is to give it interesting, relevant and up-to-date information that is enjoyable to read.

Taken from: 

Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples