The internet is rapidly becoming the main channel for seeking and booking travel services. The consequent human–interface interactions are now the focal point of many studies being conducted by both scholars and practitioners. The development of websites involves many design choices, such as background, colors, fonts, and different ways of presenting information. The study here argues that these seemingly “trivial” design choices may have nontrivial effects on customers’ behavior. The study presents three empirical examples supporting this idea. The first example refers to the presentation of hotels as items on a list on websites, which creates a “mere position” effect. The second example shows that different partitioning of an attribute’s values can impact their relative importance. The third example shows that background features (color, picture) may result in priming effects. In all cases, the seemingly trivial changes in design directly alter customers’ choices although, rationally, they should have no impact at all.
The topic and the contents of this chapter were inspired by the discussions, comments, and helpful advice I received from the participants of the 8th Consumer Psychology of Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure (CPTHL) Symposium, Istanbul, 2013.
Ert, E. (2014), "Nontrivial Behavioral Implications of Trivial Design Choices in Travel Websites", Tourists’ Perceptions and Assessments (Advances in Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 53-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1871-317320140000008002Download as .RIS
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