The HRS touch interface and why it sucks

I like to be ahead of the game. Not only as a softball umpire but also on my vacation trips. The two guys I’m with on vacation picked hotels on a try-and-error basis in the first days. But just stopping at the first hotel that comes in sight neither gives you the best prices nor the best hotels, so I jumped in and took over the hotel management.

I book everything through HRS. This is not because they have the greatest platform on earth but they have a lot of hotels around the world. But speaking of the platform, hell it sucks. Especially the touch interface. It starts with this modal overlay that tell’s you that they are gathering the search results. Have you ever seen something similar on Google? No? That’s because it’s completely unnecessary and bloats the interface. And I built a hotel reservation system on my own a few years ago, I know what I’m talking about!

Location awareness? Not with HRS. We stayed one night in London. London, Ontario to be exact. While Google offered me the canadian London as a first choice in the Maps app HRS always offered London, England first. It’s so easy to get this right based on IP or location! And yes, HRS is allowed to use my location.

Browsing through the results is slow as hell. Because every time you select a hotel you get this fancy overlay. And every time you go back to the result list, you get it again.

Currency conversion: I have no idea what they are smoking. In the result list it is converted correctly, 103 Canadian Dollar equals more or less 75 Euro. In the detail view on the offer tab however, this becomes 149 Euro, but still 103 Canadian Dollar.

Error handling: What a mess! Filling forms on a mobile device is a pain in the ass by default. But it get’s worse with the error handling HRS implemented. Got a typo on your 16 digit credit card number? No problem, a model overlay will let you know and you can correct it. For your convenience HRS deletes both the whole number and the name on the card. Once fixed you get an error 5000, ‘Person invalid’. This time, you can’t correct it. You are thrown back to a blanked out search form. HRS yells in your face: „Don’t make any typos, stupid! So start over completely again till you learned your lesson”.
Because you are already annoyed you skip the second person on a double room as the fields are marked optional anyway. Well, obviously this is no longer true but the backend guy forgot to tell the frontend guy. You might already know what happens: Model overlay that says to fill in a first name for the second person. After fixing this (and typing your credit card number once again as HRS blanked the field for your convenience) you get: Error 5000. Welcome back home, baby! I was that close to calling the hotel and book by phone, but it worked on the third try. Once again when you are dominant in your market you get lazy, as HRS does.
The good thing is: I can tell my credit card number from memory now and impress front desk clerks all over the world with this useless trick.

I'm a Web Developer based in Mainz/Germany, working for WIBROS as Lead Developer. I love the Internet, Baseball, Softball, beer and the color orange. I used to drink too much coffee.

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