Best practices for UX design in the travel industry

Torresburriel Estudio
10 min readJun 5, 2024


Digital transformation has significantly reshaped UX design in the travel sector, with online platforms greatly simplifying the booking process, making it more intuitive, quick, and convenient. These advancements are changing the way we plan our adventures, optimizing user experience and setting new trends in purchasing flows and visual design. As these platforms evolve, their impact on travel planning becomes increasingly profound, making the process more accessible and efficient.

Designers play a crucial role in this shift, bearing the responsibility to prioritize users’ needs and expectations. Immediate access to information and clear, coherent navigation are fundamental for the success of these platforms. Implementing these best practices is vital for building digital experiences that not only meet basic requirements but also enrich and engage users, encouraging them to use the platform repeatedly in the future.

Traveling through websites


A distinctive element in these platforms is the structured and clear layout they present, making it easy for users to identify and access different sections.

We start with the header, followed by an efficient search engine or booking system. Next, highlighted sections are displayed in blocks, and these are organized in a card format, summarizing the main offers and options available.

Commonly, these sections include special offers, featured destinations, travel packages, popular destinations, and unique experiences. It’s important to note that the order of these sections may vary depending on the specific objectives of each company. Finally, the page concludes with a detailed footer, which acts as a navigation map, providing useful links and facilitating site exploration.

Home of different travel websites

The use of a clean, minimalist design is no coincidence; it allows users to avoid visual overload, which is especially important on websites that contain large amounts of information and options. The content (such as images of destinations, hotel descriptions, and flight details) becomes the main focus.

A clean design facilitates user navigation and enhances the overall usability of the site. Key elements such as call-to-action buttons, search bars, and navigation links are easier to identify and use.

Search or booking engine

Next, we find the most crucial part of these platforms — the booking engine or search function. Efficiency and accessibility are paramount. Designing an effective search or booking engine on travel booking websites for hotels, flights, and experiences is essential. This tool needs to be intuitive, allowing users to easily input their preferences and quickly find relevant results, streamlining their search process and enhancing their overall experience on the site.

Vueling search engine

One of the keys to successful design lies in the visibility and accessibility of the search function. It should be placed in a prominent location, preferably at the top of the page, ensuring that it is easily locatable for the user.

Furthermore, simplicity and intuitiveness in design are essential; a large, clear search field allows users to enter their queries without complications, significantly enhancing the user experience.

Airbnb search engine

The integration of features such as autocomplete is crucial, as it not only speeds up the search process but also helps to minimize input errors. search engine

Additionally, offering filter options and advanced search allows users to refine their searches based on specific criteria, such as dates, destination, type of accommodation, and more.

Booking search engine

It is equally important that the search engine provides instant responses and suggestions, which helps users quickly find what they are looking for. A well-designed search engine not only improves the user experience but can also be a decisive factor in increasing conversions and customer satisfaction.

Another good practice to highlight would be to anchor the search bar at the top of the page when scrolling, which is highly recommended.

Airbnb fixed menu when scrolling

This technique ensures that the search bar is always accessible, thereby facilitating continuous and efficient searching without the need to scroll upwards, which is especially valuable on pages with a lot of content. fixed menu when scrolling
Vueling fixed menu when scrolling

Additionally, this functionality contributes to a modern and professional design and is particularly beneficial on mobile devices, where it maximizes the use of limited screen space, fostering greater engagement and potentially increasing conversions.

The key is to implement it in such a way that it does not obstruct the main content, maintaining a balance between accessibility and aesthetic design.


The header helps us clearly identify the brand, and we can find a distribution pattern that the majority of platforms use, with a clear and simple design.

The most coherent distribution according to reading patterns would be: the logo at the top left, main options in the center, and the option to log in to our profile on the right.

Header bars of Vueling,, Airbnb and


The use of clearly identifiable blocks is essential for creating an efficient, attractive, and accessible website. It’s a technique that not only enhances the user experience but also supports business and brand objectives.

Outstanding hotels with excellent ratings in Spain

They are easier to adapt to different formats, help in the hierarchical organization of information, and are also very useful for users with disabilities, as they facilitate navigation with screen readers and other assistive technologies.

Classification by type of accommodation and by location


Using brand colors consistently helps users quickly associate those colors with the brand, enhancing brand recognition and recall.

Use of corporate colors identifying the Vueling brand

Effective use of color can guide users through the website, highlighting important elements such as call-to-action buttons, special offers, or critical links. This enhances the site’s navigability and ease of use.

Consistency of corporate colors on all screens at Vueling


A good practice is the choice of sans serif fonts, which are most suitable. These fonts do not have lines projecting at the ends and are simple, making them easy to read. They are adaptable to different sizes and screen resolutions, effectively conveying information.

Consistent typography to differentiate title and subtitle levels


We can observe that the use of cards has spread across all types of websites, especially on those offering a wide variety of options, such as booking platforms.

Cards from various portals and lodgings with similar information presented in different forms

These cards help us maintain a clear organization of content, dividing it into manageable and digestible sections. Users often browse websites quickly, and cards allow for easy identification and understanding of key information at a glance, which enhances the user’s browsing experience.

Travel website cards with different information

They facilitate the hierarchy of information, allowing designers to create a clear visual hierarchy by highlighting important elements such as prices, ratings, or calls to action.

By providing a clear and attractive way to present information, cards help to enhance the user experience, which can lead to higher conversion rates and engagement.

Two examples to present outstanding special offers

They are designed to be visually appealing, using images, colors, and typography that draw the user’s attention and enhance the overall appearance of the site.

They offer great versatility; they can be interactive, with hover or click effects, and adapt well to different screen sizes, making them ideal for responsive web design. On mobile devices, for example, they can be stacked or reorganized to maintain a coherent and accessible presentation.

Search maps

A good practice, though complex to implement, are search maps with filters — innovative tools that significantly enhance the user experience.

Selection of hotels in Salou in an online booking service

They provide a visual and interactive way to search, ideal for users who prefer to explore options based on specific geographical locations.

The integration of filters allows for customizing searches according to various criteria such as price, type of accommodation, ratings, and amenities, leading to more accurate and relevant results, thereby enhancing satisfaction and efficiency in decision-making.

Search for hotels in Ronda with

This combination of interactive maps and filters promotes greater engagement and a more attractive and dynamic search experience. Users can scroll through the map, zoom in and out, and click on specific areas for more information, providing a more intuitive and enjoyable navigation experience. Additionally, in terms of data visualization, maps offer a clear and comprehensible perspective of the available options in relation to their location.

Accommodation options in Barcelona on Airbnb

For these maps with filters to be truly effective, they must be easy to use, quick to load, and well integrated with the overall platform. A well-designed map with filters can become a key differentiator in the user experience.


These images are carefully selected and managed to ensure that they are not only aesthetically appealing but also functional, relevant, and aligned with the objectives.

Two examples of very neat and attractive images
  • They should be high resolution to ensure they look sharp and clear on all devices.
  • Images of destinations or accommodations, where details are key.
  • Capture the essence of the destination or experience, can evoke emotions, and stimulate the desire to travel.


Breadcrumbs in web design are essential for improving orientation and navigation on sites with complex structures, such as those for travel and hotel bookings.

Two examples of breadcrumb navigation
  • They provide users with a clear understanding of their location on the site and a simple path to return to higher levels without overloading the interface.
  • This navigation tool not only enhances the user experience by facilitating movement between different sections, but it is also beneficial for SEO, helping search engines better understand and index the site structure.
  • Its implementation results in more efficient navigation and can help reduce bounce rates, encouraging deeper exploration of the site.

Travel and accommodation booking screen

On this screen, we can see a solid understanding of user needs, applying UI design principles that are not only visually appealing but also ensure a smooth and satisfying user experience.

Hotel offer detail in Paris on
  • The structured organization and visual hierarchy guide the user intuitively through the booking experience. Descriptive images of the accommodation and clarity in room options and pricing allow for easy comparison and informed decision-making. Additionally, the “See more” and “Show less” functionality helps maintain a clean interface, avoiding information overload and improving user navigation.
  • The “Trip Summary” section provides transparent details of the flight, and the booking buttons are designed to be immediately visible and accessible, emphasizing the booking action.
  • Including general information and additional services on the same page optimizes the user experience by offering a complete context without the need for additional navigation.
  • These practices ensure an efficient and enjoyable user experience.

Accommodation booking screen

In this type of screen, we can observe good UI design practices by presenting information in a clear and structured manner, with a visual hierarchy that directs the user through the essential information.

Airbnb page showing a treehouse available in Villanueva de Arce, Navarra, with details of the property, photos of the interior and exterior, and guest reviews
  • High-quality images take a prominent place, providing an attractive and accurate representation of the accommodation.
  • The iconography used provides a quick and visual understanding of the services offered.
  • The content layout in distinct blocks facilitates reading and understanding the property features, additional services, and reviews from other users.
  • Moreover, the page includes filters and customization options for dates and the number of guests, enhancing usability and the personalized booking experience.
  • An interactive map and the review and rating sections provide additional context and confidence, crucial elements to assist users in their decision-making process. This attention to detail ensures not only intuitive navigation but also an optimized user experience.


Online travel platforms, with their focus on clarity, accessibility, and attractive design, have redefined the experience of planning trips. Ease of use, backed by intuitive navigation and streamlined booking processes, not only meets the functional expectations of users but also provides a memorable and seamless experience, fostering loyalty and customer return.

Ultimately, empathetic and detail-oriented design is what turns functionality into an enriching human experience. Designers have the ability to turn the task of booking travel into a source of inspiration and enjoyment, ensuring that every journey begins on a positive note, even before the traveler leaves home.



Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance