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Minimize Checkout Navigation to Keep Travellers Focused on Booking

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Captain ConversionThe more distractions visitors have on a webpage, the more likely they’ll be distracted from the current task.  And once they’ve gone somewhere else, many of them won’t come back to finish what they started.  For travel sites, this means abandoned bookings and lost sales.  One way to reduce abandonment and keep people focused on booking is to minimize navigation during checkout.

Fewer Choices, Fewer Distractions

Visitors have a choice of actions on a webpage.  They can click links, fill in forms, press the back button etc.  They can also close the tab or browser window.

For travel sites, the goal is to get visitors taking the booking action all the way through to completion.  Which means any action that distracts people from that goal – from the conversion funnel – is bad for bookings.

Give people fewer conversion-killing actions – fewer distractions – and they’ll be more focused on the action you want them to take: booking.

Learn from Landing Pages

One of the best ways to […] increase your landing page conversion rates is to simply remove the main navigation from the page.
- HubSpot

The same principle applies to booking and checkout pages.  You have to provide some basic navigation, allowing visitors to go back a step and change dates for example.  But you don’t have to distract them with site-wide navigation, letting people exit the booking process and go off somewhere else altogether.

Who knows what’ll happen in the meantime.  They may think of another travel site and go off to book there.

You want to keep people’s attention focused on the booking task.  And:

Each navigation option you provide dilutes their attention.
- Oli Gardner, Unbounce

Neil Patel of KISSmetrics points out the business benefit:

it’s not always wise to give people navigational menu options. Removing them can potentially increase your sales.

And a sale might begin with a signup.  An online kitchen store increased signups 100% by removing the navigation menu from its landing page.

3 Travel Sites Minimalizing Checkout Navigation

Here are 3 travel sites with minimal navigation during the booking process:

Expedia

Expedia booking header

Expedia does away with the main menu at the top of the page.  It gives visitors basic navigation for going back and forth within the booking process only.

easyJet

easyJet booking header

easyJet does the same thing once you search for a flight.

Virgin Holidays

Virgin Holidays booking header

So does Virgin Holidays after you’ve filled in where you want to go and when.

A Site that Lets Visitors Go Off the Rails

RailEurope booking header

Unlike the other examples, RailEurope shows visitors site-wide navigation during the booking process.  I wonder if they’ve measured the effect on bookings without the main navigation (checkout menu only).

Keep More Visitors in the Booking Funnel by Removing Unnecessary Navigation

Remember you’re trying to move visitors further along the conversion funnel.  So don’t offer an abundance of exits.  Don’t distract people from the booking task.  Keep more visitors in the sales funnel by minimizing navigation.

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