Real Life: Testing everyday activities – booking a holiday

I often hear the expression that we all are born testers. We test from a very early age, chewing/tasting any item that comes across us, touching different textures, testing our parents’ patience, etc.
Sometimes I forget to really experience something as a user of a website as I do not tend to take them at face value and try to generally explore and learn something from every internet outing. The other day however I did not explore as I was quickly booking a place to stay at on holiday.
It was not the first time I had used this website, I had actually used it before with a high level of satisfaction and success.
With these holiday accommodation websites you can enter a holiday destination and some dates to see what sort of accommodation is available in the area.
In my case I had chosen a place in Italy, for 4 nights (a Thursday til a Monday).
This part of the interface was familiar and easy enough to use for first time users. Choose a place followed by dates and once the search results appeared these could be filtered more.

I had applied the extra filter of “breakfast included” and “bed and breakfast”.
Being a spontaneous last minute holiday my search results quickly dwindled and I found a supposedly reasonably priced bed and breakfast…or so I thought.

My confirmation stated the price in Euros and underneath the tax followed by a total in GBP.
Room – €440
10% VAT included – €44
total approx. –  £383

The wording here is what confused me completely. When it came to pay for the room in person I was asked to produce 484 instead of what I read to be 440.

The owner was very nice and showed us his breakdown he received from the website and it actually showed the price of the room for everyday (weekends being more expensive) and how much tax for each day and then the total as 484.
Had I looked at the amounts more clearly to begin with I may have noticed that the approximate converted price does equate to 484 instead of 440 but as a user we want to see the full amount stated clearly. I would even argue that when it comes to money more information is good such as a breakdown of the days of the week.

Initially I suspected that the tax calculation was mismatched on the user side vs the owners side.
I really wanted to get my teeth into the website and just test its behaviour. The wording of “included” was in my opinion incorrect and it would have made more sense to keep all prices in one currency and not change the total into the UK amount.
This could also have cleared up confusion.

Give the user the option to see the prices in Euros or GBP or display both by default.

The owner even said to us that he gets this almost every time when he has clients that booked through this website.
So if you do, do the maths and don’t take the euro price as for granted.
Have you got any experiences where something that previously seemed to work so well completely caught you out as a client/user?


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