Telling people a hotel is 0.8 miles from Paris isn’t very helpful. Does it mean the hotel is 0.8 miles from the edge of Paris, or the city center? How close is it to the tourist attractions? How long does it take to walk 0.8 miles? Questions like these make visitors leave one hotel site and go somewhere more intuitive. Be smarter: Give hotel bookers meaningful location information to get them staying and booking on your site.
Distance from Destination
Laterooms.com tells hotel bookers how far, in miles or kilometres, each hotel is from the destination they searched for e.g. Paris. But is this useful? Can all visitors visualise 1.3 miles in their head? Do they know how long it takes to walk 1.3 miles? Do they really need to do any of this mental calculation?
No. And most of them don’t care precisely how far a hotel is from Paris in miles. Distance in numerical format isn’t intuitive or particularly important. Distance in relative format is though.
From Captain Conversion’s user testing projects, we’ve seen it first-hand. Participants in our studies care about how close a hotel is relative to what they want to see and do.
So if it’s a city break in Paris they’re booking, they want to know whether a hotel is located conveniently in the city center, within walking distance of the main attractions. Or is it on the outskirts somewhere, meaning they’ll have to take a bus, train or taxi each day?
Neighbourhood and District Filters
What use is a list of neighbourhood search filters to those unfamiliar with the destination? How do they know which ones to filter search results by? Again, Captain Conversion has seen this barrier to conversion first hand during user testing:
“‘Neighbourhood’ – well, we want somewhere pretty central. Barceloneta – not sure where that is.”
“There’s nothing that says central, which I thought there might be. It would make it easier if it just said ‘central’”
Here’s an example district filter menu on Booking.com:
People unfamiliar with Budapest won’t know which of these to choose. Which districts are close to the city center? If I stay in Kobanya, can I walk into Budapest center? Or do I have to use public transport? A participant in one of our studies summed it up:
“So none of that would mean a great deal to me; I want somewhere central.”
Getting it Right
Focus on hotel locations relative to what people want to see and do. If it’s a city break, let people filter results by ‘city center’ or attraction e.g. Eiffel Tower. In other words, give them a list of hotels close to what they want. That’s what they care about.
Learn from London Tube Map
In 1931, Harry Beck – a London Underground employee – realised:
“the physical locations of the stations were irrelevant to the traveller wanting to know how to get to one station from another — only the topology of the railway mattered”
In other words, travellers don’t care that Piccadilly Circus is 0.9 miles from Hyde Park Corner. They just want to know how to get there, and how close it is relative to where they are now i.e. does it take 10 minutes or an hour?
“As a schematic diagram, it shows not necessarily the geographic but rather the relative positions of stations”
Same thing with hotels. Most travellers don’t care that a hotel is 1.3 miles from Paris. They just care about where it is relative to what they want to see and do.
As well as give hotel bookers a city center filter, Hotels.com also lets people filter by landmark or attraction. So if you’re booking a hotel in Paris, you can get a list of places close to the Eiffel Tower say – in one click. Merveilleux!
Hotels.com still shows precise distances in search results, but the focus is on where hotels are relative to what people are interested in:
Win More Bookings by Giving Hotel Bookers Meaningful Location Info
Don’t give them miles; give them landmarks. Let them bring up a list of hotels close to what they want to see and do, where every result is relevant – where every hotel might be suitable. Use this conversion power to optimize search, and supercharge bookings on your travel site.