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Quick and easy website testing for hotels [Part 2]

We're looking at ways to evaluate how successfully users are performing the most important tasks on your site. This week: scenarios testing.

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This article is from Triptease's Customer Success team. Get in touch to find out how the Direct Booking Coaches can help your hotel.

Is your website pushing guests away?

Today's consumers don't have a great deal of patience for frustrating or difficult online experiences. If a site or app is confusing to navigate, users will either leave it for good or seek out a better alternative. Your hotel website is no different. Guests can easily book with a competitive property, or with an OTA - it's your job to make sure they book directly with you.

Usability tests allow you to easily identify the biggest issues your users experience. In Part 1 of this series we introduced you to a quick homepage test to help you determine how impactful your digital first impression is on your potential guests. Today, we're looking at a way to evaluate how successfully users are performing the most important tasks on your site.

Scenario testing

Scenario testing involves giving users situations and tasks to carry out on your website. You can do this with as few as five test subjects - try asking people in a cafe to test something out in return for a coffee (a method tried & tested by Triptease!), or use a service like Taskrabbit or Airtasker to find subjects close to home.

When coming up with your exact testing 'scripts,' try to think about the major actions you expect users to take on your website homepage. Here are a few examples to start you off:

  • Sign up to the loyalty programme
  • Book and then modify a stay
  • Locate the bar drinks menu
  • Find a property with specific facilities on a group website.

You'll need to provide your participants with the device you want to test your site on (you might be particularly interested in how your site appears on mobile, or on a Mac computer). If possible, sit next to your user in order to observe their actions - though asking them to record themselves works too. Pay close attention to what your users do, how they react to what they see, where on the page they look first, and how long it takes them to perform the whole task. The qualitative data you collect with these observations gives you a starting point for addressing areas of concern in your online booking funnel.

How to write testing scenarios

Keep it realistic and relatable

Although your test participants will be aware that tasks are scripted, it's important to keep scenarios relatively close to the tasks they would ordinarily choose to complete. A participant who has never booked a hotel online might not provide you with the most constructive feedback at this stage of your test (unless, of course, you are trying to optimize your website for converting offline-to-online bookers). A low-budget single traveler probably won't be the ideal subject to test out booking a luxury honeymoon. Try to match your scripts with the most appropriate subject.

Don't over-complicate things

It can be tempting to create and test a scenario for every single action a user could take on your website. Hard as it may be, it's important to prioritize your scripts to your top three to five concerns - especially if you have limited participant numbers. With each additional script a user tests out, they're likely to be less and less engaged - rendering the data you collect from those tests less and less valuable.

Remember, if a guest has made it to your website then chances are they're interested in booking directly with you. The power is in your hands to make their experience enjoyable, streamlined, and straightforward. Usability tests give you the guide you need to achieve that experience.

Enjoy this post? You can find Part 1 here!

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