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I would like to optimize the click paths of a booking process. To understand the requirements let me explain these a little bit:

A room can be directly booked or manually. The second option needs a confirmation of the hotel, the first one will be booked immediately by the system if it's available.

Each room in search results contains two click paths:

  1. The detail page of the room.
  2. Booking page (see screenshot).

The booking page exists of two/three subpages:

  1. Select dates
  2. Select payment method
  3. Confirmation

The second page will only be visible if the room can be directly booked. Otherwise the confirmation site will be shown when the user confirms the booking dates.

On the detail page the user can choose the booking dates and move on directly to the booking page. The choosen booking dates on the detail page will be taken over.

So, as I mentioned before, there are two click paths to add the booking dates. I see some potential of optimization here:

Is it better to leave out the selection of the booking dates on the detail page and go directly to the booking page. Image the user adding the booking dates on the detail page and as he goes moves on to the booking page he see these again and can again change them. Why not go directly to the booking page and add them?

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    About choosing the dates - is it possible to view availability before starting the booking? Very frustrating to choose a room, then try to book it, then enter dates, then find it is unavailable, then have to go back and start again.
    – Paul S
    May 16 '16 at 13:36
  • You are right, that would be frustrating. The user can call the booking calendar on both pages (detail page and "cart" page).
    – Elton M.
    May 16 '16 at 13:38
  • Not able to understand what you are looking for. Allowing user to change dates from Results/Cart page will result in fresh Search Result.
    – Dipak
    May 16 '16 at 14:33
  • No, it doesn't. The user chooses the room and the booking dates on the detail pages (if he didn't before searching). These changes shouldn't influence the search dates (if there are any set by the user). Please read my description and images carefully.
    – Elton M.
    May 16 '16 at 14:45
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    I don't really get what you're saying in the last paragraph of your question. I don't see how booking a room manually is all that different from booking a room directly. To me, the only difference is that it's not confirmed immediately. So what's this 'second confirmation' for manual bookings you're talking about? May 31 '16 at 7:51
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To directly answer your question, it is better to have the date selector on both the details page and the booking page.

There is more than one way to skin a cat and the same holds true for performing tasks in many web and desktop applications. Think about all the ways that you make changes in a word processing app - dropdown menus, keyboard shortcuts, floating menus - multiple ways to perform the same task.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having multiple ways to perform the same action as long as they are consistent and the information persists from one screen to another. You certainly don't want the user to have to enter the information in again if they had already done it once.

In your specific example, am I wrong in imagining that the date range would show the room availability?

Picture this scenario, a user wants a room for certain dates and looks at the details page and then selects the dates that they want to check for their availability. If the dates are not available, then the user can go back a page and then check the next room for availability. You would hate for the user to have to look at the details page and then go to the booking page to check the room dates, only to find out then that the room is not available and have to take extra steps to get back to browsing.

The sooner the user can check the dates the better, especially if they are not available. There is a big benefit to having the dates on both screens. Also there is not a big disadvantage to having this information on both screens. There are reasons why, as a user, you might like to change the dates on either of these two screens.

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  • Thank you for the clear answer. I would confirm that it's better to have multiple ways to choose from. You are right, that the range calendar shows the availability on the detail page and booking page.
    – Elton M.
    Jul 13 '16 at 19:46

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