Increasing the User Experience Research Maturity of a Global Accommodation Comparison Platform


  • Marco Pretorius Nelson Mandela University
  • Lydia Christine Penkert



UX Research, UX research maturity, Travel, Accommodation comparison, User centricity


The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the travel industry. Additionally, the recent combination of a sociopolitical crisis, natural disasters and an economic crisis resulted in increased price sensitivity and consciousness in consumer spending. However, the travel industry continues to recover as more countries ease travel restrictions. As travel volumes gradually increase in many parts of the world, product development teams focusing on the User Experience (UX) of travel websites are critical for user satisfaction and business success. User-centric design is the process of building a product or service based on the wants, needs and challenges of the users. However, being truly user-centric requires an active means of listening to users through UX research methods. When implementing such methods, organisations typically transition through different stages of UX research maturity; namely, from the beginning stages where there is a lack of resources and ad-hoc implementation, to a mature state where user research informs business strategy. This case study focuses on practice-based insights of methods used to increase the UX research maturity of an online accommodation comparison platform in the travel industry. The study covers a period of two years, analysing the outcome of the methods introduced to increase the UX research maturity. The case study aimed to achieve the following to increase the maturity: creating awareness of UX Research and the user; exposing UX Research to the wider team; and extending research ownership to product teams. The methods used included: diary study; jobs-to-be-done framework; organisational structural changes; involving product team members in research activities; increasing the frequency of interviews with users; and enabling the product team to conduct small research activities. The results included an increase in the UX Research maturity of the organisation. The product development approach increased its user-centric focus. Non-UX roles within the product team grew closer to the user by doing small research activities. User-centricity was introduced as a company value in the organisation. The results of this study are specifically of value for practitioners and academia in the travel industry and have implications for Product, UX and Research practitioners.