In case you missed part one of the Nemo series, we looked at the web development integrations with the hotel booking API system and the payment API system. We explore the technical intricacies that happen behind the scenes to make the website function effectively, which users are often oblivious to. Check it out, if you haven’t already!
In part two, we take a look at the hotel booking platform from a user’s point of view and how we needed to combine the technical workings of the web application with the functional user-facing side of the website.
It’s all about the search
We know people search daily to find various pieces of information whether it be an app, on Google, a map or even products to purchase. We as humans are used to searching using technology but are often left frustrated as the search tools are convoluted with options or the results are just not what you’re looking for. You get the picture.
For Nemo Hotels, we needed to introduce a search facility to quickly and easily allow website users to find and book a hotel to their liking, for specific dates at a price within their budget.
We knew we needed to make the search simple and intuitive (almost dumbed down for lack of better words). Simple is always better and we love the mantra of “less is more”. Luckily we’re experienced at developing search functions, now this got us excited!. In fact, we had previously worked with our partners over at Greenbox Designs to design and build the Nemo Itinerary Builder which works really well. So we partnered up again, with Greenbox Designs who were responsible for the UI and UX work, with Elemental doing all the development of the pages, integrations and functionality.
We based the new hotel search tool on the itinerary builder as this already worked well (we refined it over various iterations), it looked great and was so simple to use. It was important to keep a level of consistency for the users.
On the search page, we wanted to give users more than just a search tool but more about what Nemo is about and their approach to the hotels that they’ve handpicked. We really wanted to capture the user’s trust from the get-go. This was done through concise messaging, what Nemo’s Unique Selling Propositions are and frequently asked questions to answer any preliminary questions users may have before engaging in the search for their hotel.
You will notice we grouped various locations into regions to make the searching simple and provide the user with a simplistic set of search parameters. The API requests to the booking engine also work with these regional groupings (read more about the API integration here).
Really cool information about each hotel
Upon search completion, users are presented with a listing of hotels that have availability. Remember, only hotels that have been vetted and pass the Nemo test will ever feature in the search results. We distinctively chose to use bigger images and minimal text for each hotel, to entice the user to find out more about the hotel and explore the unknown.
Yes, every hotel has got a standard set of information, which you can find on any website and Nemo is no different in this regard but we wanted to do more and give users a deeper look into the hotel, which really can sell the hotel based on their unique features and interesting facts.
- Information about how the hotel deals with COVID-19, which is especially appropriate now that people are wary of travelling, is literally vital. Compliance with the local tourism board on what protocols need to be adhered to and complied with, provide users with peace of mind that they’ve taken the necessary steps to highly minimise the risk of COVID-19 during their stay.
- Nemo also provides information as to why they have picked this hotel to be featured on their website and what the Nemo Travel nerds love about each hotel. In addition to this, they include information about the surroundings, transport and stand out features of the hotel.
- Points of interest that are near the hotel are also featured allowing users to see what restaurants or activities can be enjoyed once they’ve checked in.
- Nemo is all about that personal touch and another great little tidbit is what the Owner or Manager has to say about the hotel in their own words.
- The facilities of a hotel are often used as draw cards to attract people to stay at their establishment. The website details the best facilities that the hotel has to offer.
Rooms, rooms, rooms
When booking a hotel, yes you are staying at that hotel but you’re actually booking the room. There is often a big difference between the different types of rooms available at a single establishment. Knowing this, we present the user with all the rooms that are available based on the duration of the user’s stay.
We had to prominently feature each room and to do this, we showcase each room through a gallery of images, including a description and what to expect and an array of facilities available.
Booking is super simple
We are acutely aware that when a user is interested in making a purchase or booking online, we need to get them from point A to point B as quickly and hassle-free as possible with the least amount of steps. This is totally applicable to the booking process.
Booking a room is super simple!! All the user needs to do is click “BOOK ROOM”, which takes them to a booking form. No, not one of those long and tedious forms we often see on other travel websites where they want to know your grandmother’s dog’s name! We made it so simple that we request the bare minimum information from the user, as we don’t want to lose the user (drop off the booking process) at this crucial step. Just before the user completes the booking, we ask the user if they need any further assistance with other services such as trip bookings, restaurants, transport, etc. and users can provide Nemo with any comments or special requests they may have.
The final step is the payment, again super simple! Nemo doesn’t actually take the full booking payment upfront but only a deposit payment which appeals to many users and also builds the trust between the two parties.
The user is presented with a standard payment form where the user can enter their card details. We use Stripe as the payment gateway (through an API integration). What works really well is, the user never leaves the website and the processing of payment happens seamlessly with the user being informed of their successful booking, once complete, together with an accompanying branded Nemo email with all the details about their hotel booking.
Other interesting facets of the project
We needed to adjust the entire hotel booking system slightly for mobile devices as we had less screen space to work with but we still wanted to provide users with an optimal experience. Structuring the hotel pages was needed to present all the vital hotel information in a way that was logical and easy to navigate (through clever scrolling and navigational items used with swiping motion).
Nemo has customers from around the world and we allow them to switch the pricing of the hotels and rooms into either US Dollar, Euro or GBP. This gives users a sense of pricing in a currency they understand and can then make an informed decision when wanting to proceed with a booking.
In a nutshell
We set out to make Nemo hotels really easy to use. We ended up with something really slick and simple, making it a pleasure for users to find and book their hotel through Nemo.
Nemo speaks volumes when it comes to easy navigation! Take a look for yourself, who knows you might find yourself sipping on a pina colada this time next week at a hotel that tickles your fancy.
Did this inspire you? Give us a shout, we are always keen to work on new and exciting projects!