Hotel Tonight specialized in same-day bookings, meaning you had to wait until 9am the morning of to book a hotel room. While many users were thrilled at the savings offered by last minute booking, others were scared to wait for fear they would face higher prices or worse yet, no rooms available at all. After interviewing numerous prospective users, we decided to build a way to alleviate the fears of last minute booking by providing a glimpse into the future.
Look Ahead was a feature we build to provide much needed information on pricing and availability to our users. Among the challenges faced during this project was what information to provide, how to convey the information, how to instill more trust than fear, as well as how to build a predictive model which handled very different markets such as Las Vegas and Washington DC. Ultimately after many rounds of user research and feedback sessions, we landed on a system we felt provided the right level of information and could be easily glanced at to get a sense of security. We knew from the start that we would rather be conservative, as we knew that losing one booking was better than losing a customer for life. By working with data science and the local market managers, we were able to develop a predictive algorithm that took into account the dynamics of different markets and provide information to our users about why certain markets were in high demand.