Making Your Search Results User Friendly

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A recent Econsultancy blog post examined search results on travel sites, and how user friendly some of these particular models are.  Although this particular study observed the flying segment of the travel industry, the same conclusions can be drawn for travel sites of all kinds.  Let’s take a look at some of the findings.

What are people looking for from travel search results pages?

The easy answer to this question is many different things, but more specifically travelers are looking for the best combination of price, timing and convenience.

There was a time when your only choice was to look at a full year calendar to see when a property had availability.  Now you can enter your dates of travel into a booking search engine, select the number of travelers accompanying you and you are off.

Within a brand.com website, travelers will typically see all of the room options available during the given time frame, but something hoteliers should also take into consideration is adding a price range limit as well.  Although you should always be eager to show off your premium rooms with top amenities, these options are just not in some traveler’s budget range.  Here are some of features of an effective search results page:

  • Ability to sort results – Users Should be able to order results according to their own preferences.  This may be price, duration of stay or even amenities included in a given accommodation.
  • Presentation of Results – The default display option should allow users to make sense of the information presented easily.  Users should also have options to alter the display to suit their needs.  For example, some travelers prefer to see a full calendar of availability as opposed to a list view.
  • Filtering of results – Users need a good range of options to refine their results.
  • Speed – Results should load quickly, and adding and removing of filters should also be a smooth and expedited process.
  • Clarity of pricing – This is not always easy for third party aggregator sites, but it can be very frustrating for a traveler to see what looks to be a good price, only to find lots of extras added by the time you reach checkout.
  • Quick link to change original search – Searches may produce a small number of results, or the user may not be satisfied, so make it easy for them to amend their search with a clear link.

To read the full analysis of the airline industry’s travel search results, click here.

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