Usabilla Report: The UX of 18 leading travel websites Demo UX Cases

Usabilla Report: The UX of 18 leading travel websites

Summer finally hit Amsterdam. In the vacation high season we decided to devote our very first quarterly user experience report to the travel sector. We lined up a total of 18 travel sites in three different categories (hotels, airlines, and comparison sites) and invited 800 participants to give feedback and perform simple tasks.

Report: UX in the Travel Sector (cover)Screenshot: Shatner made quite an impression on

We tested these travel sites in greater depth than we usually do with our cases. This gives us an opportunity to look at the similarities and differences of a large number of sites that all offer the same kind of service. We use Usabilla surveys to collect a large amount of qualitative feedback in a short period of time. Our report is not a scientific paper and we did not track behavior. It is instead, a quick way to show you what goes on inside users heads when they visit these sites. Participants in our visual surveys are vocal, and reveal positive and negative aspects of travel sites that are easily overlooked when you only look at the numbers.

In three case studies a total number of 800 participants performed simple tasks and shared their feedback. The sites tested include: American AirlinesDelta AirlinesUnited AirlinesKLM Royal Dutch AirlinesLufthansaAirFranceBritish AirwaysSingapore, and

A selection of the highlights in this report:

  • Airlines: The Delta Airlines homepage scored highest in terms of accuracy (67%) of participants locating the boarding pass, and Delta also scored best in terms of the time (15.3 seconds) it took to find it. KLM (39%), Lufthansa (38%), and Singapore Airlines (38%) scored lowest in terms of accuracy, and Singapore Airlines (21.1 seconds), United Airlines (22.1 seconds), and KLM (23.9 seconds) scoring lowest in terms of the time it took to find it.
  • Hotels: Sites with a clear header, ease of navigation and beautiful visual design all stand out in a positive way with trust and appeal going hand-in-hand. Busy sites with scattered testimonials, social media buttons, buttons that don’t fit in with the navigational structure, or that are disguised as ads were all generally frowned upon and received negative feedback.
  • Comparison sites: The promotional content on both Expedia and tested positively with participants while other sites scored badly on most promotional elements.
  • Facebook ‘Like’ buttons: The reaction of participants to the Facebook “Like” buttons was overwhelmingly negative across all travel sector tests. Participants strongly disliked the buttons and stated they “really hate the pushy appearance of a company asking for an endorsement” or “begging” a user to ‘Like’ their company or brand without any benefit to the user.

Be sure to read the full report for interesting insights based on the feedback of 800 users.

Update: To provide some visual feedback with our report on the travel sector, Suzanne made an infographic about the user experience of airline sites. Click the image to see it in all it’s full-scale prettiness.

Usabilla Case Study Infographic - Airlines


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  2. Janneke

    Hi what made you choose these websites? And was the study .nl based or .com based?

  3. Erwin Heiser

    Ben ik de enige die de ironie ziet van een rij like buttons net onder de zin “reaction of participants to the Facebook “Like” buttons was overwhelmingly negative”?

  4. Pingback: Travel shoppers react badly to Facebook Like buttons: report « ddih

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  6. Jurian Baas

    @Erwin (who pointed out the irony of our own social media buttons beneath the last sentence of this article) Sure, that *is* a bit ironic :) The buttons above have another function though: where the companies ask endorsement of their brand, we ask visitors to endorse the article itself. But we do have a general like button in the sidebar. While our site is different in use and audience, we will definitely research this for our upcoming redesign. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Jurian Baas

    Hi Janneke,

    We choose the travel-sites with the biggest audience in the United States, because this simply allowed us to reach the most people. The participants also were predominantly from the US.

  8. Kate

    Nice study. Would love to see the next on real estate sites!

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  12. Pranaya

    It would be interesting to find out how the results are today compared with 2011.

  13. Oliver McGough

    A great idea! I’ll look into this :)

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