HotelTonight, a US-based app that helps people secure hotel bookings in the eleventh hour via a convenient three-tap process, works its logo hard.
The versatile bed-shaped “h” symbol doubles as a vital user interface element. It has not only become a memorable part of the brand, but has also raised revenue by more than 10% annually.
When the app first launched in 2011, two out of every 1,000 customers were making bookings unintentionally. The three-tap UI system had made them a tad too easy to execute. Since last-minute hotel reservations are generally nonrefundable, it cost HotelTonight roughly four percent of its profits to returns users their money – a great expense for a startup.
An early solution involved typing in one’s initials to confirm a booking, but that felt too corporate and stiff for the brand.
The app’s former engineer, Ray Lillywhite, developed a design solution to the problem. To verify a booking, users had to trace the brand’s “h” logo with their finger.
Five years on, this feature has become synonymous with HotelTonight and has helped differentiate it from competitors such as Expedia and Booking.com.
“Accidental bookings dropped, retention increased, and non-completion of the booking process dropped by 75%. Today, the app has millions of downloads and the company is partnered with 15,000 hotels in 35 countries,” wrote Fast Company.
“We now say, three taps and swipe to book a hotel tonight,” explained CEO and co-founder Sam Shank. “It impacts the metrics of the business in terms of the results…But then there’s the part that’s [immeasurable]. That’s about making it memorable and different from what’s out there.”