The Flights plus Hotel Booking Experience - Part 1

28 Sep 2015

A majority part of organising travel is booking of the flights and the stay. Seamless booking of these two artefacts lead to a very satisfied travel planner. One of the tenets that we have always followed at goibibo is try and make travel planning as simple as possible. Business travellers should focus on preparing for their business presentations and meetings. Leisure travellers should be exploring and planning their vacation activities. We aim to make the booking of the flights and hotels as simple as possible, so that this does not distract the traveller.

There are three ways to book a flight + hotel combination with goibibo - the planned package method, the add-on method, and the mobile experience. The planned package method lets the user enter his dates first, and the system presents the user with packages, which consists of flight plus hotel combinations. The add-on method is set up for the travel planner who has a specific flight in mind. Once the user chooses the flight he has in mind, the system lets the user add-on a hotel package to the itinerary. The mobile experience is similar to the add-on method.

In this post, we will talk about the Planned Package Method. And I will write about the add-on method and how we handle this experience in our mobile app, in a follow-up post.

Most frequent travellers plan their travel meticulously - be it business or leisure travel. They have their travel time preferences, airline preferences, and hotel preferences. The planned package method was crafted for these folks. These packages often come with a deep discount with special fares coming in from both airlines and the hotels.  

There are two entry points into this flow - from the main mast head and from a check-box in the main flights booking area (right above the origin and destination data collectors).

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                                               Mast head entry point

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                                           Main flights data entry point

We collect the first invariant data in the first screen - origin, destination, and the dates of travel.

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                                          Invariant data collection

Once we get this data, our algorithms process this data and provide the user with a set of initial flights + hotel packages to choose from.

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                                                 Package Selection

The user can now enter the guest information for the hotel. He can configure the number of rooms and the number of guests. Easy to use drop down menus enable this experience.

The package listing is displayed in an intuitive ordering with the onward flight in the left column, the hotel of stay in the middle, and the return flight in the third column - that is, in the order of chronological significance. The top featured hotels are budget hotel chains that are most often booked by frequent airline travellers.

Since this flow is for the power user, you can notice that this screen allows all sorts of customisation to the traveller’s itinerary. A different hotel can be also searched for, using an immediate set of most commonly used filters - name of hotel, locality, star rating, and the price. However, if the user wants is a filter ninja, we enable that experience too. If the user clicks on the orange filter icon, a whole set of advanced filters drop down.


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                                                Advanced filters

These sets of advanced filters let the user filter by departure/arrival time of his onward and return flights, and package price as well.

Another way for the traveller to tweak his itinerary to use the “Change Flight” and “Change Room” buttons which appear as part of each itinerary. The “Change Flight” button, as the name says enables the user to pick a different flight - for his onward or return journeys. The “Change Room” button enables the traveller to change the type of room in the hotel.

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                                         Hotel and Room Info pop-up

This opens up a pop-up with the hotel information - giving detailed hotel information, and about the different kinds of rooms available. This screen is also reachable if the traveller clicks on the hotel photo on the package listing.

And lastly, when the traveller is done customising to his convenience, the book button leads to the familiar booking page.

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                                                     Booking page

In this blog post we spoke about, how we crafted a simple, intuitive, and immersive experience for a seasoned traveller to be able to book a flights + hotel package. In the next blog post, we will talk about a novel add-on method that we devised for a traveller who still does not have firm travel plans, and is not quite the travel planning ninja. This is the method that we have also deployed in our native mobile experience.