Hold your nose whilst reading out this error message

‘There are no rooms available for your requested travel criteria. Please consider modifying your preferences or requested reservation dates ‘

This is the rather unhelpful error message I was confronted with when trying to book a Holiday Inn room in Hull Marina hotel, Humberside last Friday night. After several iterations of changing dates I ended up calling the hotel only to find out that the particular hotel I was trying to book only has a very few rooms catering to my ‘ requirements’ and that these can’t be booked online.

Now, not brilliant from a user experience viewpoint, however you can’t cater for everyone all the time. And maybe my request was so unreasonable that a simple error message couldn’t help? – Well, OBVIOUSLY !

What was your request Towers I hear you ask? Well, I think it was fairly straight forward – I wanted a family room for 2 adults and 2 young children. Now apparently the site can’t cope with this. Surely this is quite a big chunk of their target audience? I don’t know how many more of their hotels can’t cater for family bookings. I had a quick look and it looks like there’s another hotel in Hull which can do Family bookings online (not as great a location) so I booked this one instead.

I just wish their error handling was a bit more specific.  Could have saved me several minutes playing around with dates when all I needed to do was call in or book another hotel with big enough rooms to cater for 2 very young children. It’s a shame because the site has had an over haul recently and has some nice functionality and ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ branding in keeping with their recent off-line re-branding.

They’ve also got lots of information about each specific hotel – I know the Hull Marina hotel allows guide dogs, so why can’t they say – Family Rooms limited availability please call this number…or even tell me the Family Rooms are all booked.

What really galls is that the Hull Marina hotel has a Kid Eat Free message as one of it’s selling points. That’s all very well, they just can’t sleep anywhere.


About philty

UX professional working for major financial services player in the UK
This entry was posted in Error handling, Usability, User experience design and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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