Applying the Jobs-to-be-done Framework to understand Hoteliers' Needs on Accommodation Platforms


  • Lydia Christine Penkert trivago
  • Marco Cobus Pretorius Nelson Mandela University; trivago



UX research, Travel, Hoteliers, Jobs-to-be-done, User centricity


When building products, it is important to understand the target audience. User-centric design is the process of building products or services based on the wants, needs and challenges of users. Online accommodation platforms such as online travel agencies (OTAs) and accommodation price comparison platforms have hoteliers as users. Through hoteliers, hotel properties and prices are displayed on their platforms. These online accommodation platforms are important business partners for hoteliers and bring advantages such as increased exposure, higher occupancy rates and lower marketing costs. Understanding the needs of hoteliers is important to online accommodation platforms to inform their Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) products. These insights can help create tailored user experiences and solutions that cater to the distinct needs of independent hotels.


Increasingly, organisations are including UX research in their software design and development process. UX research is the systematic investigation of users and their requirements, to add context and insight into the process of designing the user experience. One framework to understand why people adopt products and services is the Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework. It defines user needs and what they really seek to accomplish as a job in each circumstance. This study presents the application of the JTBD framework for understanding independent hoteliers needs on accommodation comparison platforms in the context of creating visibility and generating bookings. The framework and its benefits are described, along with a variety of different industry cases where the JTBD framework has successfully been applied. The focus of this study lays on the research methodology, process, challenges and impact of applying the JTBD framework in the B2B area in the online travel industry. A foundational research project was conducted from January to May 2023 where the research goal consisted of identifying a series of needs and pain points from hoteliers that represent business opportunities while also providing a benefit for travellers. Recruited hoteliers consisted of convenience and random sampling of customers and non-customers. To answer those questions, JTBD qualitative interviews with independent hoteliers were conducted to generate insights for creating a comprehensive JTBD Map. A JTBD Map is a visual depiction to clarify the job users are trying to get done in a specific context, including respective process steps, desired outcomes and pain points. The JTBD framework helped the product development team, across different job profiles, to have a shared understanding of hoteliers’ needs. The framework was applied on both B2C and B2B product development areas. The framework also helped to identify areas where deeper UX Research was needed. Stakeholders were able to assess the different jobs and conclude which ones to focus on. 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.

Author Biographies

Lydia Christine Penkert, trivago

Lydia Penkert is a UX Research Lead at trivago. She has experience researching, designing, and
developing user-centered products in various roles in academia and industry. Lydia holds a Master of
Science in Cognitive and Media Science from the University of Duisburg-Essen and has published at
conferences of Human-Computer-Interaction, Tourism and Social Robotics.

Marco Cobus Pretorius, Nelson Mandela University; trivago

Marco Pretorius heads up UX, as well as the Content Product vertical at trivago and is a member of
the Product Leadership team. He has lived and worked in Germany, UAE and South Africa.
Marco has a PhD from Nelson Mandela University where he is also a Research Associate.
He has published in 30+ refereed journals and conference publications.