Booking a hotel is a fairly involved decision. You want to ensure that you are making an informed decision. However, unlike most e-commerce purchases, the product on offer here (a hotel) isn’t as standardised (yet), and thus there are a lot of factors to consider.
Some of the commonly asked questions before booking a hotel include -
Is the quality of rooms good?
Does it offer value for money?
Is it at a good location?
These are questions where the answer isn’t exactly a straightforward yes or no, but instead lies on a spectrum and needs a careful consideration of all the factors involved. That’s why every online hotel booking platform shares copious amounts of information about a hotel — reviews and ratings, pictures, amenities, qualitative descriptions etc.
However, sometimes, due to various reasons, it becomes very difficult to parse all of the information to arrive at a decision. In such scenarios, instead of going with the best option, we sometimes settle for the one that appears to be the simplest. One such example is booking a hotel at the last minute.
This kind of behaviour implies people are on the move and book a hotel right about when they actually need it. To translate this into numbers — the journey from discovery to purchase is completed within a few minutes, making it difficult to process all the information provided.
Difficult, that is until now.


Introducing smart cues!
To aid guests when booking a hotel, we decided to use smart, data-driven cues to simplify the process involved. Our goal was clear — help guests make well-informed decision minus the preceding research. So, we designed our solution with the following two principles in mind:
Display only one message per property, in order to keep things simple.
Messages to be based on the most relevant data streams — availability, price and overall interest in the hotel (or popularity).
Based on the shortlisted data streams, we created the following helpful messaging cues:
Availability
Message Text — Hurry! 1 room left
While this conveys a strong opinion about the hotel in terms of popularity, it also acts as a good indicator of how much in-demand a property is. In other words, a hotel with only a few rooms left, most likely indicates that people looking for hotels in an area think this one is the best!
Price
Message Text — This hotel is Rs *** cheaper than usual.

All of us like to shop around to ensure we are getting maximum bang for the buck.This message aids that thought process by showing guests that a hotel is available at a cheaper than usual rate, thereby saving extra few bucks and offering them value for money!
Popularity

Message Text — Top viewed hotel today!

This is a leading indicator of demand. While availability represents if a hotel has already been booked to capacity, this message shows that there is more than usual interest in a particular hotel (for a given set of dates).