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I have a car service that allows multi-trip online booking.

The user can configure the destinations, date, time, passengers, additional accommodations and choose the car for EACH trip.

My dilemma is that booking, like the checkout process, is a linear task.

It is best for the to user to go from A > B > C And not recommended for them to go from A > A1 > A2 > B > B1 > B2 > C. Since this implies mini task-flows, which confuses the user. (e.g. Clicking "Next" takes from A1 to A2, and not B as expected).

My question is: 1. Have you seen any good implementation of multi-booking processes? I've searched airline websites without much success, they are every confusing to use.

  1. Any other suggestions on how to approach this without making the process feel overwhelmingly long?

Thanks!

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I have not experienced this sort of multi-stop booking before (which maybe bodes well for your product!), so I'm not sure about that without a LOT of additional information.

But as a quick-hit idea for simplifying things for the user, is there a way to let them select some "global" preferences up front - such as "I only want to fly these airlines, I like this car rental place, these hotel chains, I won't pay more than $X for these things, and I need to always depart between noon and 4pm," and then set up several optional itineraries for them?

This problem might lend itself to a sort of a "wizard" flow: chunking out the work into small steps, gathering user input one piece at a time, and generating several "starting point" options, which they could then go in and tweak as they see fit. Perhaps they could even adjust specific "wizard" filters once they've seen the samples and regenerate all options based on the tweaked settings until they find one that will work as their starting point.

I suspect the logic of your product is more complex than that, but that's one idea. It sounds like a very complicated process, so you may only be able to simplify it so much for the users. Your best bet will probably be to do as much of the work as you can for them, making sure they know the factors and can tweak the process to their needs.

Smart defaults and suggestions based on intelligent factors can be better than a blank slate in such complex "form"-type scenarios, and a wizard might help you thread that needle and give users the starting points they need.

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