De Voorhoede

front-end developers

The challenge: one front-end for both labels and all websites

HotelSpecials and BungalowSpecials offer deals for more than 8000 hotels and 700 holiday parks. With multiple websites they’re active in 10 European countries, like the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. HotelSpecials and BungalowSpecials asked us to develop a new front-end for these websites.

  • Are dogs allowed? Booking a hotel has many similarities with booking a bungalow. You always have to choose a destination, the duration of your stay and the number of fellow travellers. But there are also differences. For example, bungalows are used by bigger groups, you can bring a pet and choose for final cleaning.
  • Cash or credit card? There are not only differences between bungalows and hotels, but also between countries. Examples of country-specific differences are taxes, address entry fields and payment methods like iDEAL and credit card.

It was up to us to find a smart way to deal with these kind of similarities and differences in the front-end.

The solution: configurable components and designs

During the first phase of the redesign, we started working on the booking form. At the old websites there were too many steps to fulfill a booking, with a lot of drop outs as a result. The goal of the redesign was to make it much easier to book a hotel or bungalow, which meant: in fewer steps and on any device.

  • The default version of the booking form: we first developed a basic version of the booking form for both ‘labels’: HotelSpecials and Bungalowspecials. We rolled out the form to a few country websites that shared similar booking specifications. After that we developed the form for specific booking flow needs. During the entire process, we analyzed every aspect of the visitor behaviour. Due to this iterative process we could process feedback within a few days.

The header of the default booking form on a smartphone
The header of the default booking form on a smartphone

  • Components: a solution to deal with the similarities and differences between both labels, was to divide the booking form in components. For example: a component that gives visitors the ability to choose whether they bring their pet. For both labels it’s possible to turn components on and off. This approach ensures consistency between different websites. It increases the recognizability and the ease of use as well.

Hotelspecials.nl (on the left) and Hotelspecials.be (on te right)
Hotelspecials.nl (on the left) and Hotelspecials.be (on te right)

  • Design and translations: the front-end had to deal with the design differences between HotelSpecials and BungalowSpecials as well. Therefore we made use of a theme file per label, which consists of references to the logo and color codes. This makes it easy to adjust the design of a label or to add new labels in the future. There is also one file with all content for the user interface of both labels. A content manager can easily customize the translations.

The new booking form is now live for all labels and countries. Go to hotelspecials.nl or bungalowspecials.nl and navigate through the booking process to take a look at the form.

What’s next?

At the moment we’re working on renewing the rest of the website, together with HotelSpecials and BungalowSpecials. This means the search function and all pages with hotel and bungalow information. In the course of 2016 the complete renewal will be available for visitors.

The result

  • Live within 8 weeks in several countries. Country specific functionalities were added later.

  • A significantly higher conversion. The process of making a booking is much faster and easier now.

  • A scalable front-end solution which allows HotelSpecials and BungalowSpecials to add countries and labels easily.