I've worked as an ecommerce UX consultant for a few years now, and I've worked in the travel sector a lot during this time and for several years before. It's a fascinating space to sell in as there are very few other products where users have so many questions and concerns. Getting a user to reach the stage of booking can take several weeks.
I've watched a lot of user tests and surveyed a lot of users who are booking holidays. Below are the recurring questions I've found that users ask themselves and the websites. If you're working on a travel website project, it should be a handy checklist to see if your site can answer them. Some you will have thought of, some you probably haven't.
If a website can answer all of these concerns then it's highly likely it will be able to convert uncertain users into bookers.
Landing on the site
- Where can I go with this site? What do the photos suggest?
- What makes this site better than just using booking.com/hotels.com/Expedia?
- How expensive are the products on this site—is it in my budget?
- I want to know more but I don’t know my dates yet, can I go further on this site?
- Have many people booked with these guys before?
- Have they been reviewed on TripAdvisor?
- Has this site been around long?
Searching through trip/stay options
- Are these all available for when I want to travel?
- Can I see the price in my currency?
- How many options are there in total?
- Why is this one more expensive than that one?
- Can I customise the trip/stay in any way?
- I’ve not heard of that town/region—where is it in relation to places I know and how is it different?
- Can I look at some of these options later?
- Will I lose my search parameters and filters if I leave the page?
- Will I be staying somewhere away from all the ‘tourists’?
- Can I only arrive on a certain day?
Viewing trip/accommodation details
- Can I see photos of everything? Can I zoom in to specific details?
- What size are the beds? Do you mean US king size or European king size?
- Do they have baby cots, highchairs, or stair gates?
- Are dogs allowed?
- What’s included in the price? Does anything cost extra?
- Do I need to bring towels/linen?
- How do I get to this place? Will you send me specific directions?
- Is parking available? Is it free?
- Where is the accommodation in relation to famous places/landmarks?
- What meals and other food are provided?
- Where do I need to fly or get public transport to?
- What is there to do here?
- What did other people think of this accommodation/trip? Was it well liked in comparison to other options?
- Do I have to climb up stairs to reach the accommodation? Is it wheelchair/buggy accessible?
- Is there air conditioning?
- Am I getting the best price for this? Could I find it cheaper elsewhere?
Booking and checkout
- How much do I need to pay now? When is the rest due?
- Can I pay with PayPal?
- What if I need to cancel? Can I do that and do I get a refund?
- Are they protected by ABTA or ATOL?
- Do I need any medication/vaccinations when going to this location?
- What information do I get after I book and before the trip?
- What currency is payment taken in? Will I have to pay a bank fee?
- What is the check-in procedure?
- I have a specific question, can I talk to a human?
And one question users ask less and less: does it have wifi? It's increasingly assumed that wifi will be available everywhere (and for free), so make it clear if that isn't the case!