Igloohome Integration

Offering a smooth check-in experience, for both partners and guests.

User Research, User Interface Design, Icon Design

At Booking.com I mainly worked in the alternative accommodations unit, that provides homestays, apartments and other similar holiday homes.

During my time as a UX Designer I was working on the pre-stay experience of guests, making it easy for guests to prepare for their stay.

Intro

Why

One of the team's objectives is to minimise the risk of guests not being able to enter the property. This translates into helping partners reduce operational workload and increase the offline guest experience.

To make the check-in process easier for both our guests and partners we looked at different options that would help both. One of the options was using an automated smart lock.

What

Igloohome is a supplier of smart locks; lockboxes that are connected with the internet. Codes to open this lock box can be generated using an API. Guests can use this box to get the key to enter the property without having to meet with the apartment owner. The apartment owner saves time by not having to meet the guest at the property.

Igloohome supplied us with 20 locks we could use in a pilot with apartment owners in Amsterdam and London. Our task was to integrate with their API, so that we could generate entry codes when a reservation at any of these properties was made.

Challenges and goals

Our main challenges with this project:

  • We needed the guest to understand they had to check-in themselves and figure out the best way to tell them
  • We needed the partner to install and configure the igloohome lock box
  • We needed the partner to understand how the process works of generating and sending the code over to the guest?

Goals of running the pilot:

  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages perceived by both partners and guests
  • Detect unidentified risks/ issues around integration with the providers before considering scaling up
  • Get initial learnings to help build and shape a vendor ecosystem, which includes more service providers?

How

We used the API of igloohome to generate a key code whenever a guest was making a reservation at one of our pilot properties. This key code would only be valid for the duration of their stay, from the check-in time of the property.

After securely storing, the code would be emailed to the guest one day before arrival at the property.

The email with the key code that got sent to guests (simulated data).

User research and testing

We referred to research that was done earlier to find the perfect timing to send this e-mail. Also, we tested the instructions to see if they were clear enough and easy to understand. We printed the email and let test subjects open an actual lock with just the instructions. Based on their feedback we made changes on both the copy and design until all test subjects could open the lock without any problems.

Some of the hand icons I sketched on top of igloohome's illustrations for the key code email.

Integration with Extranet

We also designed and developed an integration with our extranet. With this integration partners could see what key codes we have generated for them. We added these key codes close to the reservation details so they could easily refer to them when needed.

One of the statutes of the key code on the extranet of Booking.com

One of the statutes of the key code on the extranet of Booking.com

Learnings

With this pilot we validated that the automated self-check-in can improve partners experience by reducing their workload. Less communication needed with guests. No need to request expected time of arrival (which is one of main pinpoints of partners). No time spent on waiting for guests at property.

For guests there's a higher flexibility around check-in time. Guests felt more comfortable when checking-in late, as they could check-in by themselves and not needing the partner.