The report follows Qubit’s website analysis framework, which looks at elements of the purchase journey, personalisation and mobile.
For the purposes of this post I’ll summarise the results of the purchase journey, which Qubit refers to as ‘Find’, ‘Choose’ and ‘Buy’.
And for more information on this topic, check out our blog posts looking at how hotel websites perform in search and another that details stats showing that mobile is almost as popular as desktop for travel research.
Marriott International came top in this section with 89% while Choice Hotels came in last place with just 41% due to its homepage being fairly cluttered, which causes it to lose credibility.
It also did not have some key features such as a general search function and smooth drop down menus.
Marriott achieved the top score thanks to its well-designed homepage that included attractive offers, a visible customer support number, breadcrumbs to make navigation easier and an effective search tool.
However it was notable that only Hilton Hotels and Radisson had a general search for the site, while the others only offered search tools for users to find a hotel.
Marriott International again came top (84%) of this stage, which focuses on the effectiveness of the search function and the product pages provided by each hotel’s website.
Key features such as predictive search and being able to apply filters to search results can improve the visitor experience and, in turn, customer satisfaction.
In general all the sites had effective search tools except Best Western, which had a few quirks that undermined the user experience.
For example, when typing in ‘Paris, France’ no results appeared when in fact there is a Best Western in Paris. For Paris to show on the results it requires you to search ‘Paris, Paris, France’ specifically which is very impractical.
Looking at product pages, all of the hotels displayed multiple images of the room and facilities, as well as providing informative product descriptions.
Most of the brands also offered users a compare function, which is useful for customers when weighing up the different options.
The final stage of the user journey is the payment process, which can benefit from elements such as a well- formatted summary page, clear details of the price and room package, as well as a quarantined checkout to prevent distractions.
Hilton Hotels came top of this section with 89%, followed by Accor at 82% and Marriott International at 81%.
In general all of the hotels in the report had a decent summary page, however Holiday Inn only gave an estimated price which is obviously quite misleading.
Similarly, Choice Hotels included an additional charge of £7.52 when booking a hotel in Paris, but gave no indication as to what the charge was actually for.
At the checkout stage all of the hotel chains kept the information displayed to a minimum so as not to confuse customers, however only one of them offered a postcode lookup tool which can be a very handy user shortcut.
Most of the hotels had clearly labelled all the stages of the checkout, which aids the user in their final step of the process.
The exception to this rule was Holiday Inn which had condensed the process into one page.