The New Booking Process: Behind the Scenes

Last Updated January 02, 2018

The new booking process is one of the key ways we’re improving the online guest experience. With new tools like packages, charity donations, and dietary alerts, we’ve made the system more robust while reducing the time it takes to complete a booking! Let’s go behind the scenes with designer Joe Martin, who also leads our EzSites team.

EzBook is faster, but the conversion rate is higher as well. How did you approach designing this new booking process to make that happen?

JM: First we looked to strip out everything that wasn’t needed, whether it was a colored box, a line, a shape. We wanted to remove as many distractions as we could from the booking process to help reduce friction. Next we looked to industry leaders, not just in ticketing, but in booking as a whole. Drawing inspiration from the simplified processes behind companies like AirBnB. Finally, we looked to tour guests to understand more about how they used the current booking process.

We examined drop off points, areas of confusion, analytics, the number of fields being entered per step, and more. We knew that we wanted to create something people could easily understand, in any language.

More than just EzBook, in combination with EzSites, we had the chance to look at the entire booking process. From the moment the guest experience begins when accessing the website, up through ticket purchasing. With this, we knew there wouldn’t be a need for a tour description in the booking process. The person is clicking “Book Now”, we should let them book now.

What is friction in the sales process, and how do we reduce it?

JM: Friction is anything in the process that distracts a guest from our goal. With both EzBook & EzSites we have very specific goals in place. The systems have been designed with the idea of, “a person should do this, THEN they should do this.” Friction is increased when teams fail to create specific goals they want a guest to perform.

To reduce friction in EzBook we needed to understand what fields were absolutely mandatory. Do we really need to know “how they heard about us” before they buy a ticket? No. Let’s focus on the goal of purchasing a ticket THEN we can ask them questions like that.

Session times in EzBook have been reduced 68% because we’ve focused only on the information needed to complete a sale. Adding more fields, more questions, anything that prevents that ticket buyer from buying ticket — THAT is friction.

Tell us about your favourite new features coming to the booking process.

JM: There are 2 extremely clever components built into the new EzBook! They are aimed at adding value for guests while helping tour operators market more effectively.

The first of these follows a “give, don’t ask” approach, commonly seen in lead magnets for marketing. So if we wanted to “ask” for a guest’s email address, what could we “give” to someone in exchange for this. It’s this concept  that drove my first favorite feature, the ability to capture guest email addresses. Instead of asking a ticket buyer to fill in an email address, we’ve split this request into 2 parts.

In the area where we ask for ticket buyer info, we also ask for guest names. These fields are automatically populated based on the number of tickets you’re purchasing. Upon payment confirmation, we’re going to keep the process feeling very personal by reusing those guest names and presenting our ticket buyer with the option to send those people an itinerary. Now, we’ve given them something useful instead of asking them for a piece of data.

My second favorite component is also on this confirmation screen. While we’ve taken questions like, “how did you hear about us” out of the primary booking process, we’ve placed them on the confirmation screen. At this point we have their money, they’ve purchased a ticket. Now we can ask for a little more info.

At the end of these secondary questions is a button to submit their answers. However, instead of that button saying “Submit”, we’ve made it say “Complete My Order” — encouraging people to now fill out these questions and submit them to finish their ticket purchase. In reality, they’re on the confirmation screen and their tickets have already been purchased.

And all of these mean happier guests before our partners ever meet them?

JM: The purpose of your website and the booking process is to make people happy. We make people happy by getting them the information they need in a fast, easy to understand method. THIS is what EzBook has done.

For partners that use both EzBook & EzSites, we are your online storefront. The guest experience begins online and we need to make them feel secure, confident, and excited the second they come into contact with your brand. After that, it’s up to the experience operator to continue making that guest happy.

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