Business Technology

Expedia fights customer frustration with opening of Usability Lab in London

3 min read

15 November 2016

Former deputy editor

Online travel business Expedia has opened a Usability Lab in London to tackle customer frustration and get a thorough grasp of consumer behaviour across its numerous apps and websites.

To prevent customer frustration, Amazon introduced a tangible button in August, which allows shoppers to reorder items they’ve run out of – whether that’s condoms or pet food. Now, Expedia has made a play to combat customer frustration felt by users with the launch of a Usability Lab in London.

The online travel firm, which counts Hotels.com and Trivago among subsidiaries, plans to improve its understanding of shopper needs and consumer behaviour with the hub.

Expedia’s new property is also significant as it is the firm’s first international lab. It will see the team of researchers track global differences and unique user attitudes when it comes to shopping and booking trips to determine how engagement across websites and apps can be improved.

The Usability Lab’s product and engineering teams will make use of the researcher findings to map out changes scientifically, as Expedia aims to offer choice, comparison and convenience.

Thorough tests take place within the Expedia lab. Subjects have been, and will continue to be, examined with eye tracking and electromyography (EMG) technology, which uses sensors to record changes in facial muscles and determine what works and what does not.

During testing, research found that customers often used a notepad to record their findings. Since then, Expedia has developed a digital PA called Scratchpad, which saves pricing and other details when shoppers log in to their accounts.

Gary Morrison, SVP of retail, Brand Expedia, said: “At Expedia, the customer is at the heart of our innovation, and we do everything we can to make the travel process from inspiration to booking easy.

“In order to deliver, we need to understand the needs of the customer, and our usability labs provide us real customer insights to improve our websites and test new ideas.”

Earlier this year, a survey from Expedia UK found that, when it comes to customer frustration, 76 per cent of Brits feel anxiety when booking trips. Experiences were compared to a bad day at work, being held captive in a traffic jam and arguing with a loved one.

Furthermore, the sheer volume of travel choices available online has made bookings a confusing ordeal, according to 28 per cent of holidaymakers, adding to customer frustration.

Singapore will follow London and act as home of Expedia’s second international lab later this year.