Booking.com ventures into transportation
In my third month at Booking.com, I was placed into the newly formed Transport Team which was primarily focused on getting people from the airport to their hotel through various transport options. While one half of the team focused on public transport and shuttles, my team focused on offering taxi with our new third-party provider. The information below is intentionally kept vague to protect all parties involved.
What I did:
Research planning & execution, project management, UX
Competitors & us
To start, I gathered performance data, insights from customer feedback loops, and aggregated topics of customer service contact reasons surrounding their existing third party funnel. This helped identify what the current user pain-points were and where it was failing to reach business needs. In addition, a brief competitive analysis, that captured feature parity, and a heuristic evaluation was done before moving into designs.
Crafting a solution
Once the desk-based research was complete, a new funnel experience, targeting these key insights, was created. All of the insights were regularly shared with the team so they were positioned well to give some great feedback when brought in early on in the design process. Once the fundamental UX patterns were in place I used our internal design system to create a high-fidelity prototype for testing.
Voilà, the designs were ready to test. However, without a dedicated researcher and with the company’s testing lab unavailable for over a month, I put together my own testing plan which included the developers and our brand new project manager.
Training the team
All the participants were scheduled via email, which honestly was a bit of an admin nightmare that I learned to not repeat. Once ready, I created a task-based testing script, educated the team on moderator best practices, and with a few dry runs we were off to talk to our customers.
We actually had so many people interested in participating that we could only schedule in about a quarter of them. Though, I didn’t want their outreach to go to waste so I decided to have them do a card sort activity where they were asked to sort their priorities when travelling. This gave us a more a quantitative view of what information our users prioritised looking for.
All parties accounted for
While the devs were busy coding, and with our product flow now solidified, we needed to work with the other transport team to understand the impact of each step in the user journey. This was done by creating several service blueprints. From our entry-points through to each step of the physical service itself, the blueprints illustrated how every actor (customer, supplier, customer service, and backend) was impacted at each stage.
MVP or Bust
Once the devs had our MVP ready and with a few Q&As performed by the whole team, our product was live! After several weeks of it running we saw an 8% increase in conversion over the previous funnel, a 4% decrease in cancellations, and a higher post-book NPS score. There were a lot of things learned of course, and those were taken on as the next iterations for optimisation.
So, now what?
With our product now live in one city it was time to figure out how to scale. We knew our suppliers worked differently in each city but we just weren’t quite sure how. Since we were venturing into a bit of the unknown, I created a research plan to interview our suppliers directly. Flying to the city and interviewing them face to face uncovered some very key unknowns for us. With that, we were able to scale our product and now knew what criteria we needed to understand for each city moving forward.
In traditional Booking.com fashion, we constantly monitored our product through our experimentation tool. But, we also did a monthly analysis of our more qualitative input from customers. I looked at feedback coming in through our post-ride reviews, general customer contact, and cancellation reasons, as well as, reviewing user behaviour through Hotjar recordings. While the blend of quant and qual helped us to inform our product the extra effort to gather qual kept our team close to the customer.
Our product ended up live in over 40 cities before our team pivoted focus. The conversion steadily increased and it nearly tripled the number of bookings overall.