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Travel Site Visitors Want Clear Age Groups on the Search Form

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At what point are you an adult and no longer a child?  When do you become a senior and no longer an adult?  What age group constitutes a youth?  Different travel sites can have different definitions.  And if being in one age group means a different price (maybe cheaper), rest assured visitors want to know exactly which option to choose.

I did one adult and one senior and I thought it was…it didn’t say…oh, I’ve done the whole thing wrong.  I’ve done that wrong; that’s my fault, stupid

This is the reaction one lady over 60 had when trying to fill out the search form on a travel booking site.  Because the passenger options didn’t specify exact age groups – they just had labels like Children, Adults and Seniors – this customer got confused.

First she chose 1 adult – because she’s an adult.  Then she also selected 1 senior – because she considers herself a senior too.  When she started looking at search results on the next page though, she realised the prices were for 2 people – causing her to blame herself and even brand herself stupid!

Is she stupid?

No.  She just filled in the search form in a way that seemed logical given the information available.  And therein lies the real problem: the information available.  It wasn’t sufficient.

It didn’t tell her specifically what constitutes each age group next to the respective options.  It just said Children, Adults and Seniors.  Which means someone over 60 can be forgiven for thinking they belong to two age groups.

The same is true for children.  Different travel booking sites can have different definitions.  On Expedia, children means anyone aged 0-17:

Expedia age groups

But on other sites children can be 0-12 years.  And other sites even have ‘infants’ (0-1 years).

How do people know the exact age groups?  Because those sites tell them.  Otherwise visitors are left guessing which option they should choose, like on this site:

Thomson age groups

If children are cheaper (‘Discounts may be offered to children of certain ages’ – Expedia), wouldn’t it be awful for a family who ends up paying for 3 adults because they assumed their 17 year old didn’t qualify as a child – only to find out children are classified as 0-17 on that site.

Fixing the issue

Now we know the problem, fixing it is straightforward.  Tell visitors the exact age bracket for each option on the search form, like Expedia:

Age groups mockup

Now the over 60 lady we saw at the start wouldn’t go wrong, get upset and blame herself.  She’d know the difference between adult and senior, and get it right first time.

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