Hotels.com App

Hotels.com is the accommodation focused brand within Expedia Group and was, for a long time, the largest revenue generator of the group. Their iOS app was particularly popular and provided a good chunk of the brand’s revenue. But they were building different apps for mobile and tablet, which no longer seemed efficient or practical. It was also time inject some new programmes to really help Hotels.com stand out from their competitors. 

THE CONTEXT & OBJECTIVES

At the point this project was launched, Hotels.com had been running two separate apps for mobile and tablet, as well as two separate apps for each platform within the North American market vs everywhere else in the world – they had the same company name, but two totally different brands. At a time when having the same experience on digital platforms while traveling the world… with a travel company… that had over 80+ points of sale (countries they sold inventory for) in over 35 languages, ensuring customer peace of mind when dealing with the Hotels.com brand was paramount.

conHotels.com was having great success with their iPad app, but as more features were being added to the site and more programmes needing to be integrated into the apps for channels like loyalty and merchandising. Also, previously the iPhone and iPad apps had been developed separately, with the iPhone app lagging behind in parity and brand updates. It was time for an iOS app overhaul and with the company coming together under one new consolidated global brand, it was the best time to tackle all of the redundancy and inefficiency. The goal was to create a flexible platform, both technically and visually, and build the app to work universally between iOS devices for all countries.

Project challenges and questions

Though the iOS had a higher conversion rate to web, it had less traffic which lead to various issues to consider:

  • “Mobile” product was a separate stream and set of stakeholders to the core product team. How would we manage parity issues between the platforms?
  • We wanted to streamline information shown to declutter the experience – how to do without user frustration?
  • How would we inject the new loyalty scheme in at the right times through the journey with so little real estate?
  • How could we make it distinctly Hotels.com in brand and still be featured by Apple?

The main business objectives included:

  • Building a new, consolidated tech platform and code base could work across all points of sale and handle the related localisation of language and currencies
  • Creating an updated interface that cut out some of the website clutter and be flexible enough to handle localisation and different currencies
  • Highlight loyalty, a long term revenue generating USP, and merchandising for short term revenue lift
  • Integrate more photography and better branded UI elements to help freshen up the interface and help harness the excitment of travel and highlight enticing inventory
  • Create an experience, especially for the tablet experience, that encouraged extensive browsing – longer browse times led to a higher rate of conversion

THE SET UP

  • My role: Senior Product Design Manager / UI Designer
  • Company: Hotels.com
  • Platform: iOS mobile and tablet (universal app)
  • Main Team: B2C UI & UX designers, user researchers, B2C product management, delivery, development

 

KEY HIGHLIGHTS AND FEATURES

  • More and bigger photos of hotels: Instead of using the typical destination photos, we wanted to showcase beautiful hotels around the world to showcase our USP
  • Better predictive search functionality: Helping users find what they were looking for with better predictive text, suggestions and options.
  • A focus on loyalty: Hotels.com was one of the first OTAs to have a loyalty scheme and it was highlighted across the app
  • More effective and visible merchandising and urgency: Adding more facets to help focus a user’s decision making process
  • More filtering criteria: Expanding search and filtering beyond hotel names, ratings and reviews – adding in neighbourhoods, pay now/pay later, meals and amenities 
  • A universal UI and global branded experience: The same look and feel and user experience, no matter the country.

RESULTS

Within the first 3 weeks after the app launched:

  • Over 1,000,000 downloads
  • Over 10,000,000 updates
  • By the second full week after launch, the app featured on iPad 970 times, in 40 categories in 155 countries

Within the first 3 weeks after the app launched:

  • 4 star app rating in US for iPhone and iPad
  • 5 star app rating in UK for iPhone and iPad
  • It was featured on iPhone 606 times, in 30 categories across 155 countries

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Location

London, UK

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