Since 2002  ·  Made in
N. Holland, Netherlands

The question: How do we sell exceptional properties on our site?

After a quick ideation session with our Director of Design, I thought it would be beneficial to spend some time exploring how we could sell properties outside of our most commonly booked 3/4-star hotels.

Fig. 1
The new hotel page redesign.

Fig. 2
The current hotel page.

I started by looking at how the same property is presented elsewhere (in this case, the Wonwood Barton, a small B&B in England).

AirBnB, which emphasizes the personal connection between bookers and property owners, features much more information from the property owner about the property. The property's own website is chock-full of personal information, including information about the host, differences between rooms, and how special the location is.

I thought about how we could simplify the experience for users and remove a extraneous information. Then, after talking to our user researcher, I narrowed the most important things down to a personal connection with the property owner (something that AirBnB and the property's own website had already identified), clearer information across the page, and less confusion about the rooms available.

I decided to spend some time on the display of the property's description — previous user testing has shown that most users don't care about that information (or get enough information elsewhere). A small percentage of users really care about it, though, so instead of removing it completely, it's been minimized, keeping it out of the way for the majority of our users, but still accessible if needed. Also, the first paragraph has been emphasized, because it's a reasonably good summary of what the user can expect from the property and can set expectations for the rest of the page.

Users also tell us social proof is important, so reviews (and reviewers) are given a higher impact placement. Photos are important to users, so the new mockup emphasizes the gallery at the top of the page.

We also don't give much insight into what the property owner is like. There's an entire new section that displays the name and a photo of the host, and gives them a way to talk about themselves and their property.

Our current way of displaying different rooms is also way more complex than needed for a three-room property, like this one. The mockup removes much of the complexity of the current room selection paradigm, and replaces it with editorial content describing each room instead, which gives users even more insight into why each room is special.

One of the constraints of this project was to use Booking's type and color systems, and to keep the page “recognizable” — many of the elements are close to where they are on the original page. This mockup brings everything together — all of the learnings gathered through quarters of A/B tests on our hotel page and through user research, and tries to tie everything into a cohesive whole.

This mockup was presented to a panel consisting of Booking's design leadership. Individual ideas presented here have become successful A/B tests for multiple teams across the company, including a recent success to gather more "personal" information from properties, in the form of a “The hosts says...” content block. Other individual items tried include shortening the description, which was beneficial for users who are part of our Genius frequent booker program, removing the sidebar, showing static maps for location and local POI information, showing more photos in the main gallery, and showing avatars for reviewers.

Doing a whole page redesign like this one is usually beyond our current process. Still, thinking about some of these problems in a broader sense can lead to impactful changes on the current page and define experimentation direction for teams, even outside of our immediate area.