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This article is part of our Mobile Teardown Tuesday blog series. Each Tuesday, we choose a mobile app and suggest a few experiments the team might consider running to optimize the user experience. Learn more about mobile a/b testing from Optimizely.

hotel-tonight-logoTeardown Tuesday: Hotel Tonight

Still locking down your travel plans for the holiday weekend? Better act quick and download Hotel Tonight to find a room wherever your final destination may be.

Hotel Tonight is a last-minute hotel booking app. If you’ve ever been in a pinch looking for a place to stay or are seeking spontaneity, you know how useful this app is. People who use Hotel Tonight are looking to complete a focused task (booking a room) quickly so everything about the app should allow them to get there.

This Tuesday, we are evaluating the booking path on Hotel Tonight to generate test ideas for apps aiming to increase bookings. These series of tests will help answer this question: what is the optimal path to take a user on to a successful reservation?

Hotel Tonight’s target audience has limited time to make a booking. They seek a focused experience that will answer all of the questions they have and help them find the right room fast. Our hypothesis is that the more streamlined the process is, the more likely a person will be to book a reservation. Less may certainly be more here. The goal is that people have all the information at their fingertips (literally) in order to reduce friction between finding and booking a room.

Measuring the right goals in experiments is key to learn how users are navigating through a path and deciding which variation has measurable positive impact for your business. Metrics to track in the tests profiled below are hotel detail screen views and booking conversions.

Test 1: Hotel category and neighborhood filters

The Hotel Tonight home screen primes you for booking a room by featuring large images of hip hotels and amenities. As you explore each hotel in more detail, the app reassures you that it vets partner hotels to ensure they have access to the best offers from the highest rated hotels. However, the sorting of the hotels featured on the homescreen isn’t intuitive. Is it based on ratings? Savings? Location?

A prime optimization opportunity for the home screen is to enable users to filter by hotel category (e.g. Luxe, Hip, Solid, etc.). These filters are not currently available in the search menu, but could prove valuable on the home screen to encourage users to define a subset of hotels that interest them early in the discovery process.

Hotel category filters

Test idea: Hotel category filters so people can quickly flip to the type of hotel experience they’re looking for.

Test 2: Location preferences

Location is key when users are making last-minute bookings. Adding a neighborhood drop down adds a finer level of detail that may help users come to a booking decision faster.

Neighborhood dropdown

Test idea: Add neighborhood drop down filters to the search menu.

Test 3: Search radius in map view

The map view is one way for people to decide where they want to stay. By default, the search radius is large. When I searched for hotels in San Francisco, I saw results for hotels in 60 miles away. In an effort to present users with a more focused experience that minimizes the number of screen taps and pinches, Hotel Tonight can test narrowing the default search radius to 10 miles from the user’s current location.

Narrow search radius

Test idea: Narrow search results to a 10 mile radius around the user’s location.

Test 4: Context to social validation

Guest ratings are critical pieces of social proof that dispel doubt on the hotel detail screen. Building trust is essential to compel users to finalize their booking. When a user taps the “More” link and arrives at the “Info & Amenities” screen, no functionality is available for users to read reviews from previous guests. Featuring review previews and/or linking to the review sources could build trust that results in incremental bookings.

Social proof

Test idea: Add links to reviews on hotel detail pages to build trust.

Hotel Tonight is an example of an excellent app with a growing user base that can use optimization techniques such as those profiled above to learn user habits and thereby deliver the best experiences. Try Optimizely on your iOS app today to uncover valuable insights to drive key success metrics.

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