Nontrivial behavioral implications of trivial design choices in travel websites

Eyal Ert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.


  • Choice
  • E-commerce
  • E-hospitality
  • E-tourism
  • Internet
  • Priming


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