Egencia, Expedia Group's hub for business travel, worked very simply when I joined. Travelers had to book their airfare, hotel, and rental cars as separate transactions rather than in a single checkout. Our customers were hungry for a better way, and stakeholders across the company convened to solve this problem. I worked closely with two other designers as leaders of this new initiative, bringing everyone together to set a vision for multi-item shopping.
My design teammates and I researched different scenarios for multi-item shopping. We found there were two main routes most commonly seen: a checkout flow similar to eCommerce and bundling patterns from leisure travel. We worked together to create and user-test low-fidelity prototypes for both options. We analyzed the feedback from both to share at our upcoming design thinking sessions.
Over three days, 25 members of the cross-functional Egencia team gathered to set the project milestones. I led various design thinking exercises based on our research findings, including card sorting, rapid prototyping, and journey mapping, to help solidify the final experience. Using the outcomes of these exercises and our user research, we all defined a three-tiered roadmap for the initiative.
After our sessions, I became the lead designer on multi-item shopping. It was now my job to make these big ideas happen. I continued research with different user types, sketched out various iterations to test with travelers, and oversaw the design and implementation for the first step of our roadmap.
My teammates and I led the design thinking activities while always keeping our goal and research findings in mind. This allowed participants to empathize with users and question any assumptions they may have had going in. After several productive discussions, we landed on a final direction. Multi-item shopping was to include a page for travelers to review selections before checking out, giving them a hub to track progress and add or remove selections before booking.
After our sessions, I became the lead designer on multi-item shopping. It was now my job to make these big ideas happen. I began by interviewing professional travel arrangers, a user group we hadn't yet accounted for in our initial research. Their feedback led me to tweak a few minor details and confirmed that our chosen direction would meet most of their needs.
I then began iterating on final designs for our first solution, including a simple module to add a hotel on the flight checkout page, allowing users to purchase both together. I tested three different placements and visual treatments to integrate this new functionality in the best way.
Comparing the three different options, the test results best favored the third version, which placed adding a hotel in context with the button to continue. Users also favored keeping the visual treatment a middle ground between subdued and bold. It should stand out, but not so much that it becomes distracting.
When asked how they would rate the process of adding a hotel to their trip, users gave the winning design the highest score, a 4.8/5. It was decided, this would be our first iteration of multi-item shopping.
This initiative redefined how we approached product problems at Egencia. Because multi-item shopping had implications across pods, which were separated by page and booking type, it was paramount that we all work together to come up with the final direction. The design thinking exercises set a precedent that would be carried out in future projects, expanding cross-collaboration and leading to better solutions.
It also showed how we didn't have to fear blue sky thinking. Partners outside of product and design now saw the value of establishing a long-term roadmap, even if the first change would be minor. I left Egencia before seeing the results, but I felt confident that multi-item shopping was on the way to being a massive win for our travelers.
© Sarah Gorman 2023