Just the other day I read an article about how brick and mortar travel agencies are making a comeback. Good for them. I don’t think they’re necessarily making a comeback, rather they’re finally finding their place in the internet driven travel industry. Some like to purchase travel packages face to face and over the phone while others prefer online. Despite the fact that the internet is dominating, it still needs to improve considerably.
Following a list with T0p 11 best booking sites of hotels located in the high rise area of Palm Beach, right here in Aruba. I scoured all the websites and gone through the booking procedure, just to abandon it before entering credit card information. I looked at the usability and design. Below you’ll find a Top 11 with my findings. Even lower, you’ll find screen shots with brief descriptions.
- Westin – very good
- Hyatt – very good
- Riu – very good
- Marriott – good
- Occidental – good
- Radisson – good
- Holiday Inn – average
- Divi Phoenix – poor
- The Mill Resort – poor
- Playa Linda – bad
- Brickell Bay – bad
Westin has a discreet booking form on the main page, which is user friendly. It takes you to their three-step booking process which is clear and clean.
Hyatt has a booking form on the left sidebar, which a tad more aggressive. The information is readable and the design is clean. It only takes two steps.
3. Riu Palace
Riu Palace‘s four-step booking form is informative and clear. Prices, options and choices appear rapidly.
Marriott has a straight forward website with a nice flash picture slider. The booking form is tucked away in the right sidebar. It feels cramped at times, even cluttered. The booking procedure takes too long with six steps and amount of information can be overwhelming and is not very structured.
5. Occidental Grand
Occidental Grand features a booking form on the right area of the main content. It’s accessible and clear. Additionally they offer other services, which can be taken two ways: handy or pushy. The complete procedure takes five steps.
Radisson has a very accessible three-step booking procedure. It’s very organized and informative. To finalize the booking you need to register, which is unnecessary and not very user friendly.
7. Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn takes you from one website to another through a tiny link, which is barely visible. The booking form is filled with information and takes only one step, which is good.
8. Divi Phoenix
Divi Phoenix has a little form tucked away in the top right corner. It’s not very clear and the default state is to purchase a complete package, including air fare. The booking form itself is sluggish and heavy, mostly due to the usage of flash.
9. The Mill
The Mill has a link from homepage to the booking form. The booking is completely in flash which feels sluggish at best. Not really informative and poorly structured.
10. Playa Linda
Playa Linda needs to change the booking form. The website looks dated and I believe the secure certificate has expired. A very poor effort.
11. Brickell Bay
Brickell Bay has a poor system which doesn’t use a secure certificate to process sensitive data. The booking form is not on the main page and the potential client needs search for it. This is the worst effort of all the Palm Beach resorts. Brickell Bay is affiliated to Hotels.com, book trough them instead.