By Clare Riley, Content & Editorial Manager, SiteMinder
Everybody has their own interpretation of what makes a website user-friendly. But there are many factors that determine how easily your users can adapt to the design and functionality presented by your hotel’s website.
One study into website usability explored the difference age has when navigating a website. The study split participants into two groups. Group one consisted of college students with an average age of 19 and they managed to complete 10 website tasks in 32 minutes. Group two was made up of seniors with an average age of 62, and while 85% were able to complete five website tasks, they did so in 78 minutes. The college students were fast and accurate, whereas the seniors took their time to recognise familiar elements of the website design.
Another factor to consider is the differing expectations of website users from around the world. A recent report from Worldpay titled ‘The Online Payment Journey’ surveyed global travellers to find out what they expect to see when making travel bookings online covering every stage of the booking journey.
According to Worldpay’s report, here are seven things you should consider to attract and convert global travellers:
1. Do you display accepted payment types on your homepage?
The Worldpay study found that travellers want to see accepted payment types on the homepage, before they get deeper into the purchase process:
· 11% of French travellers wouldn’t book with a website if payment types aren’t listed
· Chinese shoppers feel most strongly about seeing payment methods
· 52% of Spanish holidaymakers consider a website to be safer if payment types are shown
· Brits like to see digital certificate logos but 86% of UK travel websites don’t display these
2. Are you giving guests the option to view prices in their own currency?
Being able to view prices in their own currency is crucial to some international travellers, but not everyone feels so strongly. At the very least, the vast majority of those surveyed want to see an indicative currency conversion option available:
· A third of US + UK travellers would abandon the purchase if USD + GBP are not displayed
· Australians are happy to deal with international currencies but would like a guide
· 87% of German travel websites don’t allow customers to choose their currency
· French travellers are the most likely to cancel their booking if they can’t see Euros
· Only 21% of Spanish shoppers wouldn’t complete a booking if they couldn’t pay in Euros
3. Should you store user profile details on your website?
Storing customer information is a tricky balance to get right. Yes, it improves the speed of future bookings, but some international travellers have concerns about creating user profiles that hold on to personal details:
· Only 7% of Australians want a website to keep their details – the lowest result
· Chinese travellers are happy to have user profiles and view it as a helpful feature
· A third of US travellers would like to store their address for speed in the future
· 88% of Spanish holidaymakers do not want to have their payment details stored at all
· 24% of Brits have user profiles on travel sites – lower than other countries surveyed
· Only a fifth of the German shoppers surveyed are comfortable setting up a user profile
4. Are guests abandoning their booking at the payment stage?
This is one of the most complex parts of the booking journey and the stage where travellers are likely to abandon the process. But what makes them uncomfortable enough to exit your website?
· Two thirds of US travellers are nervous about being redirected to pay
· 17% of Australians have dropped out of payment in the last year because it took too long
· 20% of German travellers would abandon a booking due to security concerns
· More than half of French holidaymakers would not pay any kind of surcharge
· 63% of Chinese travellers say an overly complex payment page frustrates them
· Credit card surcharges for travel bookings are deemed acceptable in the UK
5. What reassurance do you provide when an error occurs?
It’s easy for the payment process to go wrong and let’s face it, mistakes happen. An internet connection can time out or the user can accidentally click during the authentication process. What are the user expectations when an error comes up?
· 67% of US travellers expect a clear explanation i.e. “incorrect card details”
· Australians want their booking details to be pre-populated before a second attempt
· A third of Chinese shoppers would consider abandoning the payment after an error
· 39% of British travellers would leave the booking if they had to re-enter details
· 14% of Spanish respondents have quit because of a payment error in the past year
6. Do your guests receive a booking confirmation via email?
You’ve probably experienced that wave of panic after you think you’ve made a booking. Did it work? Did it not go through? How will I know if the hotel definitely has me booked in? The key is to ensure all successful bookings receive a follow up:
· 96% of both Australians and Germans say an email confirmation is very important
· This drops to 91% for UK shoppers followed by 87% of French travellers
· 81% of US travellers agree with the need to receive a booking follow up
· Only 49% of Chinese travellers say receiving confirmation is very important
7. What support options do you provide for guests?
Having several contact options that are clear to find and action is an obvious user-friendly feature of your website. Does that mean a single form or phone number? Or a more sophisticated live chat function? According to Worldpay’s research, a combination of contact options works well:
· US travellers prefer to talk about their booking over live chat
· 70% of Australians like to look at FAQs when they have a payment-related question
· A quarter of Chinese shoppers would refer to reviews which is an unusual response
· German travellers are unlikely to ask new payment questions as they prefer existing FAQs
· 71% of UK shoppers would make FAQs their first contact point followed by live chat
· Only 45% of French travellers would read FAQs
There are several marketing and sales cloud platforms available to hotels today, to offer personalised experiences and engage returning guests. How does your website stack up?