We asked a bunch of people who use travel sites to sum up in one word how they want to feel after making a booking. Here are the 3 most common words they gave.
The wisdom behind the words
The most common word used was ‘satisfied’. The second was ‘glad’. So why did people choose those words to describe how they want to feel after making a booking online?
I believe the answer is simple. It’s because for many people, getting things done online can be a struggle. Maybe they can’t find what they’re looking for and give up in frustration. Maybe they click a button and nothing happens. Great, now what? Maybe they fill in a form and get an ambiguous error message back, which doesn’t explain how to fix the problem. Stuck again. Grrrr!
I’ve seen users experience these types of frustration over and over again. I don’t even have to run a study; I can just go watch my parents trying to book tickets to the theatre, say. Something that should be a quick and simple task turns out to be a huge challenge. It usually ends with shouting, cursing and a lost sale for the company they’re trying to pay. Anyone would think the company doesn’t want their money!
It shouldn’t be like this, but it is. So when people manage to book travel successfully online, they feel satisfied everything went ok. And they’re glad it’s done. Now they can feel happy and look forward to the trip.
What makes a satisfying travel booking experience then? At an overall level, it’s pretty simple:
1 Make it easy for people to find what they want
E.g. a 3+ star hotel in Madrid, within walking distance of the city centre, for 2 adults in a standard room, under £60 a night.
2 Make it easy for them to buy what they want
- Have a big and obvious ‘Book now’ button.
- Make sure booking forms only ask for necessary information.
- Make sure form features are intuitive and easy to use e.g. auto-completes and date selectors.
- Make sure form error messages are clear and self-explanatory.
- Reassure people their personal and payment details are secure.
- Display immediate order confirmation details on screen after booking.
- Deliver order confirmation details promptly by email after booking. And make sure emails contain a summary of all the essential booking details.
Above all, deliver satisfaction.