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We are currently doing an expert evaluation of a booking platform for holiday accomodations.

In this context, the question arose how users perceive the display of the number of other users currently viewing an offer especially on booking platforms. Do they like it, because it is helpful for estimating the popularity of an accomodation or rather annoying and without any additional benefit? The same goes for information about when the last booking has been completed or how many others users do have the accomodation on their wish list.

Do you have any experiences from user testing? What is your own estimation?

  • I would imagine it detracts from the experience. If I was looking at an offer and it showed me 100 other users viewing the same thing I would see that as pressure being put on me to buy the thing before it sells out. I suppose its similar to a real life pressure selling tactic but less in your face. – Varedis Jul 22 '15 at 9:28
  • I always assume it's some generated number that's probably higher than how many people are actually viewing something... – Mark Jul 22 '15 at 14:11
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It's most likely beneficial

The information about the other users serves a few great goals:

  • it creates the sense that the platform is well inhabited, which is great, especially when the platform is starting out;
  • it builds the feeling of scarcity, and therefore, urgency in buying decision — which is great for sales (if this factor is irritating enough to disqualify the user, then he probably didn't have enough need in first place).

However, if you do follow this route, make sure this information doesn't look too bold or intrusive. Don't make this looking like an alert. And never, ever cheat the user by artificial nubmers (though I'm sure you never considered this acceptable).

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