March 28, 2024 Read 10 Min

UI/UX Audit: Booking.com vs Agoda

Looking to plan your next vacation online but can’t decide between Booking.com and Agoda? We examined each platform’s UI/UX strengths and weaknesses to reveal the platform that offers the best booking experience.

It’s April and the first quarter of 2024 has passed. The itch to explore the world is gnawing at you.

Next thing you know, you’re cracking open your laptop — ready to dive into travel planning. 

But which travel planning platform shall take you to your destination? Booking.com or Agoda? Is there a difference between the two that keeps enticing users back to its service?  

The answer is yes — the features on their websites make all the difference, i.e. their UI/UX design.

So, strap in, because our design team is here to unveil them in this audit

Homepage & First Impressions

Booking.com

Booking.com homepage overview

When you click on Booking.com, a clear value proposition “Find your next stay” greets you on the homepage. The direct CTA reminds them of their purpose from the get-go.

As a result, it gets users started on their planning and doesn’t leave room for them to backtrack from the site. Indirectly, reducing bounce rates on Booking.com. 

However, issues present themselves in the layout and content presentation. It’s too cluttered and overwhelming.

The low visual clarity, lack of white space, and densed content make it cognitively difficult to process information well. 

What’s more, it lacks vibrancy and nothing visually stands out, making it an overall dull experience.

Agoda

Agoda’s homepage overview

Similarly to Booking.com, Agoda delivers its purpose from the first page with a clear CTA in the form of its search bar.

But, unlike its counterpart, it has a cleaner and easier interface to navigate through. Its ample use of white space lessens visual clutter which allows for key information to stand out and relay their significance. 

As for visual clarity, Agoda has a higher contrast for valuable information.

For example, the top right placement of the accommodations’ ratings and the use of contrasting colors like red and blue for pricing and CTA buttons make it easier to spot. Thus, promoting information clarity and visual hierarchy. 

Agoda also prominently places the different booking categories with the search form. This is a contrast to Booking.com’s categorization placement which is placed at the top separated from the search function, making it more time-consuming to locate it.

Winner — Agoda

Search Function

Booking.com

Booking.com’s pre-filled search bar

To aid users’ search, Booking.com pre-fills its search bar with natural placeholder texts.

Pre-filled texts help reduce confusion by guiding users on what to search for especially when it’s the user’s first time visiting the site. It hints at the keywords and formats that best suit the search bar.

Booking.com’s popular search quick buttons

Additionally, the placement of recent/popular search quick buttons below the search bar itself is a space-saving solution.

It eliminates the need for a bulky drop-down menu or dedicated section. Ultimately, freeing up real estate on the homepage without sacrificing functionality.

It’s also worth noting here, the search experience encompasses the content that users get itself.

Booking.com understands this, so its homepage bears more categories than Agoda, providing users with enough information to make their search more productive.

Agoda

Agoda’s search bar

Agoda’s search functionality boasts similar features to Booking.com. Some include a dropdown menu for recent searches and a prominent “Search” call to action button that minimizes doubt about the next step.

But, that’s where the similarities end.

Agoda seems to emphasize user focus with their search experience. By incorporating a focused state, where the search bar dims the background of the page when users search, users’ attention is maintained on the search bar. Therefore, minimizing distractions.

Agoda’s search focused state

Agoda also displays an estimated price (in Malaysian Ringgit) upon providing the necessary input like duration and location.

This price preview provides valuable context and helps users make informed decisions before diving deeper into search results. Solidifying clarity and user focus as Agoda’s UI/UX approach.

Agoda’s accommodation price preview

Winner — Tie

Menu Bar

Booking.com

Sticking to a clean and visually clear approach, Booking.com’s menu buttons are easy to locate. Largely due to sufficient spacing gaps between each button. Not to mention, it reduces user frustration from accidental presses, especially on touchscreens.  

The change in opacity and color when the mouse hovers over the buttons also effectively highlights the user’s current page within the website.

Booking.com’s menu bar

However, consistency suffers slightly with the “Flight + Hotel” option. While the top navigation and banner design remains consistent across most pages, the “Flight + Hotel” option presents an exception.

This page redirects users to a co-branded page with Agoda, which might introduce confusion for users expecting the usual Booking.com interface.  

Booking.com’s “Flight + Hotel” separate page

Maintaining a consistent design language across all pages, including the “Flight + Hotel” section, would further enhance the user experience.

Agoda

Agoda’s menu bar presents some user experience (UX) challenges. The current design combines the logo and the main menu bar in one row, potentially causing confusion as this redundancy might lead users to overlook the menu options.  

Top menu bar: Agoda’s logo + main menu

Although in a different order, the menu bar seems to repeat some options that are found on the search bar. This inconsistency can be disorienting for users. 

Furthermore, the excessive use of red “new” and “bundle” tags, while intended to highlight offerings, can contribute to a visually cluttered and noisy feel. It can potentially overwhelm users and hinder their ability to focus on the core navigation options.

Simplifying the menu structure and ensuring consistency across the interface would improve Agoda’s overall UX.

Winner — Booking.com

Accommodation Page

Booking.com

Right off the bat, it’s evident that Booking.com places emphasis on clarity and streamlining users’ booking experience with its accommodation page.

Firstly, the blue and white color scheme that is consistent with the rest of the website remains harmonious. This uniformed color palette fosters a sense of calmness during the booking process, ensuring users don’t make decisions in a state of agitation and urgency. 

Booking.com’s color scheme

Moreover, positioning the review section directly below the room selection, allows users to access guest feedback and make informed decisions easily. It offers users a comprehensive overview of what they’re signing up for, i.e. transparency.  

Accommodation’s rating & feedback

Speaking of transparency, Booking.com also displays the total price of the entire stay upfront.

This, in our opinion, is the ultimate indicator of Booking.com’s commitment to user-friendliness as it reduces the mental burden needed to do budgeting. 

The presence of a single, clear call-to-action button labeled “I’ll reserve” also minimizes confusion and encourages users to complete the booking process. These combined elements contribute to a user-friendly and efficient booking experience.

Booking.com’s accommodation CTA buttons

Agoda

Unlike Booking.com, the design for Agoda’s accommodation page is a big miss rather than a hit.

The only convenient feature worth mentioning is its sticky navigation bar at the top that is visible as users continue scrolling. This feature allows users to cross-reference their search details as they’re browsing the room options. 

Agoda’s sticky navigation bar

Aside from that, every other feature unfortunately falls short in user experience.

For starters, the presentation of information is disorganized and cluttered. Although it’s assumed they’re grouped in boxes for organization purposes but the use of these boxes seems to have taken a wrong turn.

There is limited hierarchical differentiation and as you scroll further down, the boxes start to blend with each other, making it harder to differentiate the information.

Agoda’s accommodation page overview

There’s also no clear path to access your booking cart without scrolling back to the top once you’ve added a room. The cart button should’ve been a part of the sticky navigation element as well to avoid this. 

Despite the abundance of information presented, Agoda lacks transparent price presentation.

While the page displays the price per night, the accumulated price is only presented during checkout. This strategy almost feels deceptive in our opinion.

Providing the total cost upfront would enhance transparency which can encourage users to take the next step faster and reduce chances of abandoned carts. 

Winner — Booking.com 

Transportation Page

Booking.com

In comparison to its exemplary accommodation page, the opposite is said for its transportation page.

For some reason, Booking.com decided to separate flights, car rentals, and airport taxis into categories by themselves instead of a unified “transportation” category like Agoda.

Booking.com’s transportation categories

This is not a particularly smart move as it might confuse those seeking an all-in-one source for travel arrangements. It might even steer users from more convenient options.

While the pre-selected “round trip for the cheapest timing” option can be helpful for budget-conscious travelers, it can be inconvenient for users who prefers more control with their flight preferences. 

Booking.com’s pre-selected option

Agoda

With its transportation page, Agoda appears to prioritize comprehensiveness and familiarity.

Regarding comprehensiveness, Agoda offers a wider range of options compared to Booking.com. Planning travel logistics is made convenient and accessible with this variation, making Agoda a more appealing platform. 

Agoda’s transportation options

What’s more, the design of Agoda’s flight booking section resembles airline websites, which might feel more familiar and intuitive to users accustomed to booking flights directly with airlines.

Agoda’s flight booking section

This consistency could reduce friction and streamline the flight selection process for such users. Overall, Agoda’s approach to transportation booking seems more user-centric through a wider range of options and a potentially more familiar design language.

Winner — Agoda

Attractions/Activities Page

Booking.com

Unfortunately for Booking.com, the user experience for its attractions page is subpar to Agoda’s.

To begin with, users’ browsing and discovery experience is restricted in the sense that selecting a location is a prerequisite to exploring activities. This approach proves unhelpful for users who have a specific activity in mind but are unsure of its location. 

Booking.com’s attractions browsing function

The apparent lack of variety in available attractions can further hinder users’ ability to discover new and interesting experiences. It’ll be better if users are allowed to search activities using keywords rather than locations. 

Moreover, the infinite scrolling feature can potentially hurt user experience more than benefit it.

While it fosters a sense of discovery and eliminates the need to click through multiple pages, it can also lead to users feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content. 

Booking.com’s activity results

Finding specific attractions or revisiting previously viewed ones can become a challenge without clear page breaks or the ability to jump to specific sections. 

Agoda

Contrastingly, Agoda’s user-friendly features allow for more flexibility in researching and reservation. The search bar enables users to search for activities by both location and keywords.

Attractions & activities search function

Even when searching by location, Agoda helpfully suggests activities relevant to that destination (example below: “Kuala Lumpur”). 

Agoda’s suggested activities

Furthermore, once a location is selected, Agoda provides a robust filtering system categorized by food, experience, transport, and attractions.

This comprehensive filtering system empowers users to refine their search based on specific interests, making it easier to discover activities that suit their travel plans.

Agoda’s activities filtering system

Winner — Agoda

Checkout Page

Booking.com

Booking.com’s checkout page excels in clarity and user comfort. The overall layout is clean and well-structured, fostering a sense of calm during the crucial booking process.  

Booking.com’s checkout UI

Importantly, Booking.com utilizes strong highlights and contrasting colors, particularly for the total price section. This use of green, red, and blue highlights makes the most important information easily identifiable, minimizing confusion and anxiety during checkout. 

Highlighted & contrasting elements

This focus on user-friendliness and clear communication positions Booking.com’s checkout page as a strength in its overall user experience.

Agoda

Agoda’s checkout page adopts a familiar layout with the booking summary on the right and customer information on the left. However, the design choices prioritize urgency over clarity, potentially creating a stressful user experience.  

Agoda’s checkout UI

A countdown timer emphasizes limited-time promotions, which can pressure users to rush through the checkout process without carefully reviewing details.  

Countdown timer element

Furthermore, the excessive use of color highlights disrupts the visual hierarchy of information, making it difficult for users to distinguish between essential and secondary details.  

Highlighted & contrasting elements

By simplifying the design, removing the countdown timer, and employing a more strategic use of color, Agoda could significantly improve the calmness and clarity of its checkout process.

Winner — Booking

Claiming the Crown

After a close inspection of both websites, it seems the analysis of Booking.com and Agoda came to a draw.

Both platforms excelled in different categories but somehow in the end evened out each other’s scores, setting a new record for Snappymob’s UI/UX Audit series. 

This goes to show that Booking.com and Agoda put effort into their designs, but might have their focus on different strengths.

For instance, Booking.com seems to prioritize transparency and efficiency in its users’ booking journey. Whereas, Agoda leans more toward providing flexibility, user control, and familiarity in its design.

Both travel platforms have their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, both Booking.com and Agoda demonstrate a commitment to user-centric design, making them strong contenders in the travel booking arena.

Need a design suited for your users?

One lesson we can take away from this audit is there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to UI/UX. What you should pay attention to is understanding what appeals to your users and translating it into your design. 

At Snappymob, we specialize in crafting intuitive and visually appealing interfaces that keep users engaged.  Our team understands the delicate balance between clarity, control, and aesthetics. 

So, let us help you create an app or website that not only looks stunning but also delivers an exceptional user experience.  Get your free consultation and let’s unlock the full potential of your design, together.