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Filtering by Category: Unsolicited Advice

Test your app on shitty networks

Cathrine Gunasekara

So many app developers forget to test their apps on bad networks. They sit in their Silicon Valley office with the latest phone models on high speed wifi and think their app is working great. I know from experience it’s easy to forget and as a PM I’ve made that mistake many times. But for travel companies there is absolutely no excuse not testing their apps on shitty connections. Travel apps, at least their basic functionality, MUST work when the user is traveling!

Here’s an example. I’m a Hotels.com Gold status member and try to make all my bookings on the platform, but I’m seriously getting tired of looking at these loading screens on my Pixel 2 phone. The app simply won’t load unless you have a very good connection, and that means I can’t book a room on the go, which makes having the app pretty useless. Many times I’ve had to give up on the Hotels.com app and instead opened the Booking.com app and it loads immediately! Guess which platform got my booking? Not because I wanted to, but because I simply had no choice, and that’s a stupid mistake a booking app can’t afford to make.

Hotel Mini Bars of Soap

Cathrine Gunasekara

A pet peeve of mine is the hotel soap bar.

It’s gross
Yes, it looks decorative when nicely wrapped in paper with the hotel logo on it. But as soon as I use it, it just looks gross swimming in a puddle of soap water. Some hotels don’t even offer a soap holder so it slides around on the vanity top making a mess.

It’s wasteful
A soap bar makes a lot of sense at home where you can use the entire bar, but not at a hotel where I use maybe a third at most. So what happens to all the barely used soap bars? Most hotels sadly just throw them out, but thankfully some hotel chains partner with organizations that recycle the soap, like Clean the World. But the soap bar still creates paper waste from the wrapping and then there’s all the energy used for transporting and the process of recycling them.

Dispensers
I love it when hotel bathrooms have push-button dispensers for shower gel and shampoo instead of having to deal with the miniature tubes and bottles. Especially when the hotel has splurged on brand name shampoo and not the stuff that makes my hairdresser cry.

But I rarely see dispensers for hand soap, so hopefully that will also be more common soon. It should be more eco-friendly as hotels can buy in bulk limiting the plastic use and also cost-saving as they’d pay for just the soap used.

Checkboxes

Cathrine Gunasekara

The most appealing thing about Airbnb to me is the chance to stay in a truly unique home, however I think they’re making it unnecessarily hard to find such a home.

Under “More Filters” there’s an option to filter specifically for many types of unique homes, but for my purpose I wish there was an option to “Select All” or just toggle a preference for “Unique Homes”.

Why:

  • Chances are that if I’d be interested in staying in a cave, I’d also be the type of person interested in staying in a treehouse or a castle.

  • If I look for just cave homes, it’s not likely to return any result in most places

  • I have no idea what types of unique homes I can expect to find in a location

  • It’s a pain to check off every single box to set my filter to find something interesting

Airbnb unique homes filter

Other approaches:

  • Set a high level preference in my Settings by selecting a travel persona or areas that are important to me, like Safety, Good Wi-Fi, Near Public Transport, Good for Work, Good for Families etc.

  • Ask me if I want to save it as a preference if I check the same box many searches in a row.

  • Add “For Adventurers” to the Trip Type list.

This way you don’t have to check off a million boxes every time you do a search.

 
Airbnb trip type.png