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Marriot International has come top in a usability report that includes eight of the world’s top hotel brands.

The report also looks at the onsite effectiveness and brand awareness of Holiday Inn, Radisson, Hilton Hotels, Best Western, Choice Hotels, Accor Hotels and Starwood Hotels.

As mentioned, Marriott International was the top performing hotel with an average score of 83%. Hilton came second with 81% while Accor came third with 78%. The overall average among all eight hotels was 64%.

The report follows Qubit’s website analysis framework, which looks at elements of the purchase journey, personalisation and mobile.

For the purposes of this post I’ll summarise the results of the purchase journey, which Qubit refers to as ‘Find’, ‘Choose’ and ‘Buy’.

And for more information on this topic, check out our blog posts looking at how hotel websites perform in search and another that details stats showing that mobile is almost as popular as desktop for travel research.

Find

Marriott International came top in this section with 89% while Choice Hotels came in last place with just 41% due to its homepage being fairly cluttered, which causes it to lose credibility.

It also did not have some key features such as a general search function and smooth drop down menus.

Marriott achieved the top score thanks to its well-designed homepage that included attractive offers, a visible customer support number, breadcrumbs to make navigation easier and an effective search tool.

However it was notable that only Hilton Hotels and Radisson had a general search for the site, while the others only offered search tools for users to find a hotel.

Choose

Marriott International again came top (84%) of this stage, which focuses on the effectiveness of the search function and the product pages provided by each hotel’s website.

Key features such as predictive search and being able to apply filters to search results can improve the visitor experience and, in turn, customer satisfaction.

In general all the sites had effective search tools except Best Western, which had a few quirks that undermined the user experience.

For example, when typing in ‘Paris, France’ no results appeared when in fact there is a Best Western in Paris. For Paris to show on the results it requires you to search ‘Paris, Paris, France’ specifically which is very impractical.

Looking at product pages, all of the hotels displayed multiple images of the room and facilities, as well as providing informative product descriptions.

Most of the brands also offered users a compare function, which is useful for customers when weighing up the different options.

For more information on copywriting for product descriptions, check out our blog posts on what makes great ecommerce product page copy and 20 inspirational examples of product page copy.

Buy

The final stage of the user journey is the payment process, which can benefit from elements such as a well- formatted summary page, clear details of the price and room package, as well as a quarantined checkout to prevent distractions.

Hilton Hotels came top of this section with 89%, followed by Accor at 82% and Marriott International at 81%.

In general all of the hotels in the report had a decent summary page, however Holiday Inn only gave an estimated price which is obviously quite misleading.

Similarly, Choice Hotels included an additional charge of £7.52 when booking a hotel in Paris, but gave no indication as to what the charge was actually for.

At the checkout stage all of the hotel chains kept the information displayed to a minimum so as not to confuse customers, however only one of them offered a postcode lookup tool which can be a very handy user shortcut.

Most of the hotels had clearly labelled all the stages of the checkout, which aids the user in their final step of the process.

The exception to this rule was Holiday Inn which had condensed the process into one page.

David Moth

Published 4 December, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1674 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

David

Not sure what's happened here but your title contradicts the data.

Title: "Marriott edges out Accor and Starwood in"

Text says: "As mentioned, Marriott International was the top performing hotel with an average score of 83%. Accor came second with 78% "

But the data table has not Accor in second place but Hilton with 81% !

I know you should 'never believe anything you read in a newspaper' :<)

over 2 years ago

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Remi Lefevre

Very interesting article.

I would be very curious to know more about the methodology involved in the rankings, which is unfortunately not explained anywhere, as well as to see the full results, which seem to be missing.

Specifically, it would be insightful to see the reasoning behind comparing hotel groups (Marriott International, Accor Hotels) and hotel brands (Hilton Hotels and Holiday Inn Hotels), making the sample quite... disparate.
Furthermore, more clarity on the criteria used for each category would make for much stronger and credible results.

A good idea in any case, and I'd love to see more of it.

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Deri, you are correct. I've amended the blog post and the headline.

@Remi, there wasn't really space to explain the full methodology used. I'm sure if you get in touch with Qubit they'll be able to help.

over 2 years ago

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John McElborough, MD at Inbound360

Always surprises me to see these huge global brands whose websites are making hundreds of millions in bookings making so many fundamental mistakes! There's no excuse for any of the brands in this list to not be investing heavily in usability.

over 2 years ago

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Camila Souza, Front developer at Nw11 9dr

Hi, Where can I get the full report ? and how published it ?

Thank you.

about 2 years ago

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Robin Jack, Research Analyst at Qubit

Hi guys,

The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/qbhotelbenchmark.

The methodology springs from an array of best practices developed by Qubit over the course of many years optimising websites for conversions. This is not a UX assessment, but focuses on elements of a website we have seen to drive conversions.

The methodology takes a series of binary criteria, each given a specific weighting according to the effect these characteristics have been seen to have on conversions. An analyst goes through the website and scores each criteria a 1 or a 0, which is then verified by another analyst before contributing to a final score.

about 2 years ago

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