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.

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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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