In the years I worked as a Product Designer for the hotel industry I often stumbled over bad UX. The reason for that was that these products, such as booking engines, were often entirely made by developers, who did not have any knowledge of User Experience.
I do not want to blame them for that. It is simply not their role, hence it is important to have a designer included in the product process.
The hotel chain, which now counts more than 40 hotels, asked the agency I was working for back then, if we could help them increase their conversion rate.
They did not have any problems with bookings on booking portals such as booking.com or Expedia, but struggled a lot with their own website.
The first thing I did as the responsible Product Designer back then, was starting to analyze the website and its entire booking process, based on the knowledge I already have about UX Design principles and by that already identified some issues, that I wrote down to tackle them later on.
The next step was actually taking a look at the users, their behaviour and their thoughts by using certain tools that help us gain feedback and insights about movement patterns across the different pages.
After a few weeks we got enough results, started analyzing them, breaking them down in categories and prioritized the identified problems, to better evaluate what needs to be fixed immediately and what we could rather make a long-term project, that will have a high impact.
II. Design Process
First thing I started to change were the minor issues and everything rather simple, that got identified without much analysis effort.
We tested the changes we made by a certain amount of users and after a few days we could already see better results, increasing the conversion rate by around 0.7%.
After we made those changes we headed over to the insights we gained through analyzing user behaviour, movement patterns and listening to user feedback.
Pro Tip: We used a method through which we would analyze user behaviour and movement patterns without the users realizing it. This can lead to more real results.
During the entire design process and after every important key element we (re)designed, we tested our design and gained new user feedback.
By addressing the users' struggles and their needs through the redesign, it was possible to increase the conversion rate by 4.5%
By that we can clearly see, that it totally makes sense to have a Product Designer participate in the product development process.
What 4.5% (+0.3%) in conversions actually mean:
-1 Night ≈ 60$ (average)
-14,000 visitors using booking process/monthly
Before UX Optimization: 0.3% Conversion Rate
-> 42 bookings (≈2,520$)
After UX Optimization: 0.3% + 4.5% = 4.8% Conversion Rate
-> 672 bookings (≈ 40,320$)