3 Travel UX Must-Dos for Your Travel Booking Website

Travel UI design can be a hard nut to crack, especially when it comes to conversions. Our recent analysis of 2,100 Million visitor sessions across several verticals found that travel and tourism has one of the lowest mobile conversion rates of all sectors (0.90% average).

Desktop reigns over mobile within this sector on every performance metric, touting higher conversion rates: 2.90% vs 0.90% on mobile, and average cart values $1,860 vs. $1,790 on mobile.

Visitors spend almost double the amount of time on desktop as they do on mobile sites — 6 minutes 4 seconds on average, suggesting a less than optimized experience. The bounce rate appears to confirm this story, with a considerably higher rate of bounces on mobile than on desktop visitors bounce less, bearing a bounce rate of 39.80% (45.70% versus 39.80%). 

It is clear that even in this mobile-first age, booking an international flight or a train ticket on your smartphone phone may still be far from being user-friendly, let alone instinctive. Since travelers are largely defined by their mobility, developing headache-free solutions is paramount. Take advantage of the following tips to optimize your site for mobile users.

Make it Easy to Navigate Your Site

Whether you provide a multitude of transportation options or accommodation around the world, it’s imperative to optimize your website or app for booking on-the-go.

The best way to achieve this end is by ensuring your users can easily find what they are looking for on your site or app. 

That’s where the navigation menu comes in handy. By providing a clear navigation menu, visitors can quickly navigate the myriad of information and deals you have on offer. The more frustrated visitors become trying to navigate your site, the more likely they will bounce or exit without having converted.

Make sure that the most important parent categories are visible upon reaching the site. Avoid using ambiguous wording for navigation links so that hesitation times remain low, especially for featured content, offers, or features. Don’t leave users guessing what kind of content they’ll be directed to before clicking on something.

In addition to a clean navigation, use category or product pushes throughout the site in relevant areas so users don’t always have to rely on the global navigation (especially if it isn’t sticky to the page.) This can help keep your users engaged even after they’ve found what they’ve been looking for.                                          

An example of good travel UI design: On JetBlue’s homepage, the focus is solely on searching for flights, vacations, hotels, or cars. However, upon opening the menu, users are presented with key categories and CTAs dedicated to booking, managing, or exploring travel options. Categories and subcategories are written in large text and use helpful icons. The contrast in the background of the sub-categories makes it easier to read.

Create Seamless Experiences between Mobile, Web and Mobile Apps.

Many travel apps, especially those for booking transportation and accommodation, require specific functions and features that use the native capabilities of mobile phones.

For example, users are able to add their boarding passes, pull up their tickets or even track their baggage through mobile apps. Are travel brands replicating these essential features for their mobile websites? If not, they’re missing out on key mobile UX improvements. That’s because equipping users with access to the same types of features across platforms is key to providing a seamless travel UX. 

Surface Upsells and Cross-Sells When it’s Relevant

Users are easily overwhelmed when presented with too many options to choose from or multiple tasks to complete. Focusing the user on the most important task, such as booking a flight, is much harder when users are bombarded with a variety of extras or promotions they are encouraged to take advantage of. 

You wouldn’t put every checkout step on one page; the booking process should take a similar approach. It should be spread out across several steps to make it more easily digestible. 

The same goes for any upsells or cross-sells. Options should be progressively surfaced during different stages of the journey and in places where they are most relevant. 

When a flight is selected, the users are immediately provided an option to upgrade their seat. It clearly lists the benefits and price to upgrade. Bold colors that pop from the screen are used to indicate these special options.

That Does it for Travel UX 

Overall, your travel website should make any booking or research process as easy as possible. With mobile users increasingly on the move, any process should be made simple and easy to understand. That includes reimagining and optimizing crucial features so they take into account the context and goals of distinct audience segments. Learn what works best by studying your users’ behaviors and putting customer intelligence at the heart of your experience decisions. 

5 Minutes with a UX/UI Designer

Helping brands forge an exceptional user experience (UX) for their customers is at the heart of our mission and product, and it’s impossible to discuss UX without also mentioning user interface (UI).

The main arm behind the production of memorable digital customer experiences, save for web development and programming, UX/UI is a sector in its own right, and deserves a hefty amount of credit.  

This is not to undermine the other disciplines that contribute to experience development, such as marketing, merchandising, analytics, etc.

Nonetheless, we’d like to spotlight the UX/UI discipline — and what better way is there to delve into this topic than with the first-hand insights of a UX/UI designer? So I sat down with Fanny Pourcenoux, our very own head of UI design.

And Fanny did not disappoint. I was able to derive heaps of insight into the practice of UX/UI. Aspiring designers ought to take note.


What are some of your go-to UX/UI elements/tricks?

It’s very important to keep in mind that every website is unique, and has a dedicated audience, experience, product range, brand story… Here at Contentsquare we work with international brands in many verticals: retail, luxury, banking, automotive… The goals and challenges are always different and you can’t apply the same UX/UI best practices for all your customers. Based on the global client knowledge we’ve acquired over the past 7 years and our daily handling of our data, my team is able to quickly find and suggest unique & personalized recommendations from Contentsquare insights.


Fanny gives a presentation to the team in Paris.


What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in website design in the past 5 to10 years?

Mobile first is the biggest, of course, from a global perspective, but there are also two other big must-haves.

The first one concerns fast & easy navigation. Visitors are more and more demanding when it comes to having a fluid and intuitive navigation. Today this is perhaps the most important goal for an e-commerce website: to facilitate access to menu/search and cross-category/products navigation.

The second is about immersive experiences. In the same way that brick-and-mortar shops are doing their best to make you live/feel an in-store experience, e-commerce websites are striving to offer an immersive & secure digital experience. Since you are only 1 click away from their competitors, brands have to show you quickly their most popular products, and leverage images and video to show to wear/use them. All this in an environment where your personal & payment data is completely safe (think visible and meaningful reassurance elements). Customer reviews are also a very important decision factor in the buyer journey.

What are the main trends you’re noticing now?

There are you classic trends such as visual signifiers that encourage scrolling, sticky nav or CTAs on mobile, cross-navigation links and blocks…

There are more and more bots, too: to guide you, to assist you with purchases, to answer to your questions… Shorter checkout and forms are also popular. Everyone knows it’s often the most painful part of the purchase journey, and we’ve seen a lot of improvement in form length, social and guest login options, interactive and playful checkout experiences…


What are some of your biggest pet peeves in UX?

Filters! A lot of choices, but a small area to display them. How do you make the best choices to ensure they are easy to use. Cross-selling too —what content to showcase, how does it fit in with the overall goal of the page, where to position it, etc… Each case is different and represents a unique challenge.


How has data transformed the job of a UX/UI designer?

Before using data, UX/UI jobs were only based on UX laws, UI trends and user feedback.

Now it’s so much more powerful!! You can directly access the behavior of thousands of visitors on your website and analyze their behavior patterns in seconds. You can stop relying on intuition to optimize, and instead identify actual pain points to improve and solve. We also have benchmark data for every vertical to be able to compare behavioral data with averages before prioritizing actions.


What advice do you have for aspiring UX/UI designers?  

To be passionate about digital. Spend a lot of time every day browsing international sites and apps to prospect/ buy items and services (from a dress to a plane ticket, to booking an appointment with your doctor or hairdresser). Read articles about the latest tech innovations and trends, cultural preferences when it comes to digital, take part in events with other UX and UI designers so you can share knowledge and learn from your peers.

And don’t be afraid to be wrong. You can have good intuition but “without data, it’s just another opinion.” Identifying the best optimization opportunities based on data has to be your daily motivation.

Mastering the UX/UI to Deliver Desirable Digital Experiences

Ease of use, an intuitive navigation and indicators of safe payments are key UX/UI tricks that will elevate your user experience. While some UX/UI best practices are everlasting, or at least seem to be, many emerging and existing ones should be taken with a grain of salt. This is to say that trends change, along with user expectations. But most importantly, the way your own site visitors navigate and interact with your site can change — sometimes suddenly and abnormally. Luckily, you can make timely UX/UI changes with a secure AI-based alerts system in place.