In my time at Vegas.com, I have been able to work on a wide variety of improvements to the user interface and experience. One such project was coming up with a fully re-designed hotel booking path – with the ultimate goal of increasing conversion, I also set out to inform the user without overwhelming the user. I combined user research and competitive analysis, and developed a new product strategy to help reinforce our brand goal of being “Vegas Insiders”. I then used this data to help me develop a new UX and UI that would accomplish this new strategy. Below is a deeper dive into my process with accompanying screenshots and mocks.
Having grown up in Las Vegas, I was familiar with The Strip and just how big it is – especially if you’re trying to walk it… but many either haven’t been here or forget/not realize that.
This is where I formulated the core problem – we simply offered available options to the user, like everyone else, rather than mindfully informing them as they narrow down their choices – offering an opportunity to bring our unique inside knowledge to the user experience.
Once I defined where it was this solution would need to be taken, I set out to figure out just how I could get there.
I first analyzed the hotel/room booking path that Expedia, Booking, Hotwire, Priceline, and Airbnb offered. I took note instantaneously that all of them except for Airbnb had you interact with a widget and from there you would be presented with a list view of available options with their prices and important information… the same approach Vegas.com had. I saw this as a major opportunity for this new design solution, as all of the other sites offer hotels all across the world – we offer Las Vegas. This is where I began to develop my approach, that by offering the best possible experience in booking your trip to Vegas, we could increase conversion, particularly with those that open up multiple tabs and compare costs in a space where price parity is important – we could really stand out and say this is why you book with us.
Having grown up in Las Vegas, I was familiar with The Strip and just how big it is – especially if you’re trying to walk it… but many either haven’t been here or forget/not realize that. This is what I rooted my solution in – by landing a user’s search on a map (centered on The Strip) with a new, compact view for each hotel next to that and interactivity between the two, we could empower the user to make educated and confident decisions in their stay.
Much like in other forms of e-commerce, as users narrow down their choices (mentally crossing them out based on price, location, features, star rating) they start clicking the ones they want to learn more of. As a part of this path redesign, I set out to re-evaluate what users see and interact with on each hotel product page.
The first aspect I looked at, again comparing with top competitors, was how we presented the plethora of beautiful resorts available to visitors. Be it business or leisure travel, people have an expectation about visiting Las Vegas. The mystique for first timers, the adventure and conquest for old timers, and everything in between. It allows an escape for so many to stay in a nicer hotel at a lower price, or to spend that extra few dollars a night… to feel like a high roller and I wanted to focus on selling exactly that. By landing users on a huge hero shot of the hotel, with some pertinent information overlaid along the top and bottom – and the ability to navigate through a slideshow, we could stoke the fire of anticipation. I also felt it best to rearrange the information at this level as well, instead of focusing on an overly long and contrived description of the hotel, I moved the room types to the top, and added a dynamic “receipt” to the right that showed users price per night, savings, and total cost, that updated as they changed their room types. Next up I thought it would be nice to break out the most important features/amenities customers look for in their hotel and give them a fun, interactive icon treatment with rollover effects. I then felt it best to bring more focus to user reviews – as that is such an important aspect of narrowing down your choices and feeling confident in your decision. From there I wanted to keep the rich concentration of information about each property that we have, but tuck it into two nice containers that are user expandable so as not to overwhelm.
Once I worked out the static mockups in Sketch, I wanted to put together a quick flow to visually explain just how this new setup would work for the user, and the various interactions possible. I utilized Flinto to build a prototype that would really show the interactivity and proper flow through this re-imagined hotel path.
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