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Hotel booking process design & usability

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Report summary

This report reviews the hotel booking process designs used today. In particular it reviews how hotel reservation websites handle multi-room reservations and reservations involving children.

The report also reviews the two booking process styles in use on leading travel websites and Observations from usability testing on these two sites (and others) reveal how real users evaluate hotels, rooms & rates when making a property selection.

The report also suggests 25 design guidelines defining best industry practice for hotel booking process design.

Key findings

Only 48% of rates displayed on results pages explain whether the price is for a room - the hotel industry standard - or for a person - the holiday industry standard - which leads to customer confusion on the likely cost of their stay.

The research also discovers that less than 20% of websites can handle all the common types of room occupancy offered by hotels; for example, reserving two rooms for three adults, or booking one superior and one standard double room for two couples.


The report includes analysis of the following aspects of a hotel booking process:

  • Booking process flow - an analysis of the six booking process styles currently in use
  • Rate value display - what should the rates include - and how should they be displayed?
  • Multi-room reservations - handling reservations for more than one room
  • Uneven occupancy levels - for example two adults in one room, one adult in a second room
  • Children - how reservations involving children should be handled

The report also includes all the results from two x 12 user usability tests, involving the following websites:

  • Accor Hotels
  • DowntownDisneyHotels (iHotelier)
  • Expedia
  • Opodo (Worldres)
  • TravelSelect
  • Wotif


  • 25 design guidelines - defining best industry practice for booking process design
  • A functionality evaluation of 87 websites (16 travel agencies, 43 hotel booking agencies, 28 hotel chains)
  • Usability testing tasks - all the tasks used in the usability tests

Who should read this report?

  • Hotel groups or agencies who create their own bespoke booking engines or websites
  • Travel distribution companies, such as GDSs (Global Distribution Systems), with online booking-engine products
  • Other companies, such as web design agencies, with an interest in online hotel reservations

It is an ideal introduction to hotel reservation websites - for marketing, web design and hotel industry personnel who have no specific industry or online web design knowledge.

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PDF Download report
51 pages PDF format
Immediate download (1.5MB PDF)

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