Shatner from Priceline.comConsumers on travel sites had an overwhelmingly negative reaction to Facebook ‘Like’ buttons, seeing this as a unnecessary distraction, according to a travel usability study. 

The study from Usabilia used 800 participants and looked at the user experience on airline, hotel and travel comparison websites. 

Here are just a few highlights from the report, as well as a couple of infographics based on the data…

Facebook on travel sites

Social media can work very well on travel sites, but much depends on the context. For example, Hyatt links to its YouTube channel so users can see videos of hotel rooms and facilities before they book. 

The addition of reviews from sites like TripAdvisor can also be incredibly useful for consumers, and makes perfect sense for travel firms, as users are just going to head there anyway. 

However, the context is all important, and asking consumers to ‘Like’ a page during the search and booking process may not be the best approach. 

According to the report: 

Participants strongly disliked the buttons and stated they “really hate the pushy appearance of a company asking for an endorsement” or “begging” a user to ‘Like’ their company or brand without any benefit to the user. 

A better solution would be to include ‘like’ buttons in follow up emails or surveys. If customers have enjoyed their journey or the hotel, then they will be predisposed to hitting the button.

Also, some incentive such as a discount on future bookings may provide more of a reason for people to click. 

Finding boarding passes online

This is a task that should be easy for users to complete, and all airlines need to do is provide a clear link from the homepage. This was a ‘one-click test’. 

The infographic below shows the time taken to find boarding passes on the various sites (click image for a larger version): 

Users were able to find the boarding pass (online check-in) link most easily and quickly on the Delta airlines website. All it takes is a nice clear link: 

Finding a boarding pass on the KLM website took longer: 

As the heatmap shows, several users failed to click the correct link. In fact, just 39% got the right link. The relative clutter of the KLM homepage compared to Delta’s was one factor. 

What makes visitors trust a hotel website?

The study tested first impressions of a hotel website’s homepage, and the elements which convey trust. The logo and the brand awareness was the top factor, cited by 48% of participants.  

This infographic shows the importance of factors like clean design and social media (click for larger version):