Relax is an accommodation management system. It serves as a multifunctional tool for the staff of guesthouses and small hotels. Relax offers fast management of accommodated guests, reservation system with possibility of connecting it to online booking services and built-in communication with customers.
The main focus of this project was to transform an old existing management system used in hotels and large accommodation facilities into a new product offering all the same functionality for smaller facilities.
Problems to solve
Usually, the staff operating with the system has to respond very fast because of short phone calls from customers or long queues at the reception. Therefore, we had to prioritize and select the key tools to be super-fastly accessible, still with respect to keeping the complex functionality of the whole system.
Examples of these features might be creating a new reservation, ability to see available/occupied rooms and/or ability to see notifications from the system or other employees.
This product is targeted on owners of small and medium sized accommodation facilities mostly located in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Italy. According to the fact that our contracting authority wanted to focus on facilities in ski and holiday resorts, we had to deal with a problem of adjusting the interface also to elder users (based on the research, big portion of receptionists in these areas are 60+ y.o.). Therefore, we tried to use as basic interface elements as we could.
We divided the system into three main sections.
- Reservations — where users manage their past, current and future reservations
- Price Formation — where managers set their prices for different seasons
- Settings — where manager can set up their system settings
The main page of the whole system is an overview of all reservations in selected period of time. User can also check his notifications, last updates in the system and create new reservation or task. After clicking on a single reservation, user can manage all its properties (guests, services, rooms, notes etc.).
The detail of a single reservation then offers most of the more advanced functionalities. From billing options to guest and service management.
Most challenging part of the whole system was Price formation section. Managers of hostels tend to adjust different prices for different types of rooms, with different number of beds, in different parts of the building, with different discounts, in different seasons... We came up with a 3-dimensional table allowing the user to display data based on selected properties but still keeping the table simple and clear.
Continuous user testing during the whole design process has revealed biggest weaknesses of the system. We adopted these weaknesses as our design challenges and continued on improving the whole system. Parts, the users had most problems with, were primarily when respondents were asked to do changes in existing reservation. Another interesting problem worth mentioning was with autocompletion of form input fields. Users were often dissatisfied with the correctness of autocompleted fields so together with developers we invented different, more sophisticated, solutions.
This project has been realized in cooperation with an amazing colleague Samuel Antol