View Retreats. Online travel agency website UX/UI redesign concept

Introduction

Believe in love at first sight? We are not going to be sentimental here, but instead, we want to talk about something that could be considered a full-blown love story. It is the infallible formula for making travelers fall in love with the hotel when they look at its website: the user experience, often abbreviated as “UX”, and how we improved it for the particular project.

Now that the Internet has become the quintessential means of booking hotel rooms, any hotelier who wants to be successful needs to pay attention to their website. In this sense, it is essential to achieve a website that captivates visitors at the moment because, if they do not fall in love at first sight, the bounce rate will increase, which is something that will harm your general e-commerce strategy.

viewretreats.com is an online travel agency (accommodation) website that helps its users book luxury holiday homes, boutique hotels & luxury lodges in Australia and New Zealand. The current website UI design aimed to convey simplicity, elegance, and style, yet the general UI/UX solutions needed to be rethought and adjusted to ease the customers’ choice.

To increase conversion, the UXBee team decided to improve the customer journey, in the meantime, making the site look even more stylish, elegant, and luxurious.

Approach

To start the project’s design or the redesign, we research the business sphere understanding the user experience.

So, we have tested the most significant competitor’s products (Airbnb, Booking, Trip.com) to understand the prime user’s needs to define the best UI/UX solutions for similar use cases. After that, we discovered and resolved the most impacting UX issues of the current website design.

Home page

While testing and researching, a brief look gave us an understanding of where the typical customer’s pain is. The proper search feature is the most needed and valuable option of the booking service. Search is the core feature of the online travel agency website, so our main subject for UX redesign was “How can we make the search activity more intuitive, obvious, and time-saving?”

The main screen of the current website design version seemed to limit the user’s ability to interact with the site – the search icon was hard to find, and there was no vivid CTA.

As our first step, we have placed the search field in the center of the screen, attracting the users’ attention.

Moreover, we added the date and guests’ setting functional section to help the user start searching from the first tap.

Also, as users, we would like to see some recommendations to ease our choice. So, we have added the Destinations section to show the top-recommended proposals. Now the user can start searching in one click or check the top-recommended destinations from the first scroll.

Geolocation

To make it easier to interact with the search field, we have also optimized the search by adding a default geolocation feature.

In the new UI/UX design, it is integrated into the searching process – in case the geolocation was not activated before, the user could activate it in one click right after tapping the Search button.

Search settings

To make the search experience more intuitive, obvious, and time-saving, we have adjusted a UX solution of the calendar section, helping the user set the booking dates. The today and tomorrow dates, set by default, make the interaction scenario more intuitively understandable.

This way, we have made the user journey scenario clear and intuitive:

  • Input to start the search.
  • Choose dates and set the adults/children amount.
  • Check the search results.

Also, now the user can interact with the catalog, not leaving the Home page, as he has the section of the Destinations and a “Discovers” one on the first scroll.

Map View

We have noticed that while deciding on a booking, the user should better have an option to compare the search results by location and price. Therefore, in the enhanced version, we have redesigned the map view, so the map and the search results were placed on the same screen.  The search results thumbnails can be swiped left and right with the finger. The map shows the object location and booking price according to the search settings.

Instead of the conclusion – put yourself in the shoes of the travelers

The Internet is becoming increasingly important within a hotel’s sales strategy, as users use this channel to book their holidays. That is why it is essential to have a site designed and adapted to boost conversions.

Now imagine that you are a potential guest and visit your hotel website.

Is the unique selling proposition of the hotel obvious?
Do you want to explore the rest of the pages?
Are the images enchanting but not burdensome?
Are the texts accurate and not excessive?
Are the rates clearly defined?
When you finally feel like making a reservation, does it take a lifetime to make it?

Working on our UI/UX improvements of the “View Retreats” site, we thoroughly tested the hotel website to make sure it offers an optimal UX experience, answering all the questions above.

Ultimately, the benchmark that guides your decisions should always be the experience of your guests, both actual and potential. It is vital that when visiting the hotel website, you reconcile your own goal of increasing bookings with the motivation of your potential guests: discover what it offers (and, incidentally, book a room) quickly and easily.

For sure, use the latest technology, but always keep in mind to create a minimalist and enjoyable user experience. The hotel website should make a professional and modern impression, but also be clear and intuitive enough for any traveler to use it proficiently – even for those, who have never used a computer in their life.

Our goal was to make the user experience as pleasant as possible, which at the same time fully corresponded to the brand design, and we think that we nailed it, which immediately resulted in the increased conversion rate of the resort’s guests.