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Conversion Booster: Cognitive Ease

Cognitive Ease is the first hotel conversion rate optimization technique Booking.com uses.

Cognitive Ease is a neuromarketing principle that advises simplifying things for users. For example, it suggests making the reservation process as smooth as possible. Therefore it helps visitors in every step, allowing frictionless reservation process and highlighting the easiness of the process.

Conversion Optimization rule: The easier the better

The easier the interaction with the website is, the more our brains love it, and the more positive emotions we experience and, as a result, more likely we come back next time. 

For example, to make the process easier Booking.com applies different features.

Remembers Guest actions and personal inforamation
  • Autofills city names and hotels.
  • Adds the number of people depending on your previous searches.
Cognitive ease example on booking.com: autofill hotel search to ease room booking, usage of the previous hotel search preferences
  • Opens calendar without a click immediately after the city is typed. Booking.com date selector is handy. Surprisingly it is not always a rule for other websites.
  • Reminds you about unfinished bookings (1 click to continue)
Example of booking.com reminder of unfinished booking, message to convince the guest to finish hotel reservation
  • Stresses out how easy it is to book – “it only takes 2 minutes”; “no credit card required”; almost done messages.
Four notifications from booking.com highlighting the easiness of the reservation with the OTA, messages with "it only takes 2 minutes" claim
  • Remembers your credit card details; your personal data; names of your companions. Prefills information from the previous bookings: your name and email.
  • Shows which reservation form fields are optional rather than which are mandatory.
  • Uses icons for description. Visuals are easy to understand.
Example of how booking.com uses icons for hotel rooms description, visual representation of room facilities
Helps guests to choose with filters
  • Applies automatic filters

The default search filter results are Booking.com pick. Only since recently, the OTA is obliged to notify customers that their ranking is not transparent and it could be manipulated by Booking.com.

On the other hand, Top Reviewed rating, based on customers’ opinion, is hidden at the right’s three dots.

In other words, Booking.com filtering policy benefits the platform, not the visitor.

 

  

Example of how booking.com filters hotels in the initial guest hotel search, highlighting booking.com choice (top picks) and hiding top reviewed filter
  • Pushes for popular filters.

For example, Places of interest, flexible cancellation policy, or similar hotels.

Visitors have the feeling that they are the ones in charge of hotel selection, yet is not exactly the truth. For conversion reason, booking.com suggests filters and gently and firmly directs your search towards reservation. 

Example of booking.com filters customized depending on guest initial hotel search and adapts filters' buttons
Adapts design and layout

Information is organized in a logical order, every element is at the place where it should be. For instance, the Shopping cart and Sign In button are in the top right corner. As well, to get better conversion the main element of the home page is the search bar, located is in the middle.

  • Copywriting and visual elements are organized in order to make the page readable.

Paragraphs, titles, coloring helps visitors to see the most important thing and the things booking.com wants us to see.

 

Active verbs make copywriting easier to read

For an instant, Uses active verbs instead of passive, uses imperatives. As a result, a simple phrase in the active voice allows visitors to digest messages more easily, inciting a more positive reaction.

Example of three booking.com messages using active verbs (imperative) to motivate hotel guests to move throughout booking journey
  • Add additional information so guests wouldn’t need to search for the answers on other websites.
Example of booking.com messages with hotel direction information to prevent page abandonment during the booking process
  • Pop-ups information displaced when hovering over a product.

If you have a question, you’ll easily find the answer. 

 

Example of three booking.com tooltip messages (hovers) for booking.com icons and buttons
  • The convincing techniques don’t stop after the guest makes a reservation.

After the guest completes the reservation, Booking.com suggests the next destination and encourages continued planning. Small improvements that help you to book the next hotel easier.

Example of how Booking.com suggests the next destination and encourages guests to book hotels in the suggested destination
  • Likewise, adds a button to easy cancelation/modification of the reservation
  • Sends confirmation and reminder about the trip on your email, therefore it is easy to add the reservation to pass wallet or calendar.
Example of Booking.com message with cancelation/modification of the reservation buttons to improve user platform experience

This is the first post from the Why booking.com converts so high and what hotels can learn from it?” series. We explored how Cognitive Ease helps with hotel conversion rate optimization. Read all the posts to find out how to get a conversion rate as high as booking.com for your hotel website.