Travellers need a tool to plan better trip itineraries because lack of organization can be costly, unsafe, and disappointing.
Trip planning contains several moving pieces: booking flights, finding accommodations, choosing itineraries, managing finances and more. Currently, our priority is to tackle itinerary planning, and move toward being the one stop shop for travel planning, rolling out features that solve pain points that surface during our ongoing customer discovery. In 2015, Expedia explained that consumers visit 38 sites on average before booking, and this is just for flights and accommodations - imagine activities! Travel is complicated to book, and consumers have so many choices. This can create emotional pain points for users, as they may spend hours building the perfect itinerary, which can create feelings of stress and anxiety, and reduce the pleasure associated with planning a trip. In fact, 64% of survey respondents agreed that they dread the travel planning process, and “virtually-exploring” the area prior to visiting.
This problem becomes more complex when group trips are considered. This is because there are several budgets to manage, several opinions in play, and several expectations to please. Additionally, if the average traveller visits 38 websites before booking, we can assume groups at least double the amount when planning trips. Successful group trips require strong organization, transparency and communication - a gap that we aim to solve with the shared itinerary planning.
Currently, there are apps like Travefy and Splitwise whose purpose is to assist travellers with their trip organization, however these apps are geared towards travel professionals, or focus on other pain points like managing the budget and splitting expenses.
User Pain Points
We conducted 3 user interviews and received over 30 survey responses.
To best understand the user need, we conducted a survey and user interviews, where we learned more about users travel planning needs. Through our information collection, we found the following common pain points.
- The process of packing
- Avoiding over/under packing
- Coordinating schedules: finding time off, deciding where to go
- Disjointed process when picking flights, accommodations, and more
- Get an accurate understanding of the trip’s cost (hidden costs)
- Figuring out transportation in unfamiliar places
- Not being able to decide what to do (differing opinions)
- Multiple resources required when researching
- Managing several pieces of information leading up to trip
- Uncertainty when travelling
- Stress surrounding planning trip while keeping up with other responsibilities
Our research highlighted several pain points of users, validating that individuals would benefit from improved processes in regards to travel planning. Our research results gave us the opportunity to evaluate which step would be the most feasible for us to improve, given our time, resources and knowledge.
Landing on the Solution
The major pain point we’d like to mitigate is to select an appropriate itinerary for a solo or group trip, given considerations of budget, nature of stay, and duration.
So, the job-to-be-done with our solution should directly address organization for trip planning. This could lead to integrations of other solutions down the line, for the other pain points that we’ve uncovered.
Explanation of the Solution
ExploreEasy makes the travel planning process smoother for users, as it is a convenient tool that generates itinerary ideas based on a handful of inputs (duration, location and group size) for users to vote amongst, and leads them directly to the activities website, reviews and booking methods. As users continue to vote on activities and build the itinerary, they will be awarded with a badge of completion, giving them satisfaction in being organized!
Each itinerary suggestion will show the same high-level details at a glance: # of reviews and rating out of 5, price point, and distance from the user's accommodation location.
If there’s no voting consensus, users will be prompted to review other itinerary ideas, or not book anything. If there’s no consensus, points towards badges will not be accumulated, incentivizing users to collaborate and come to a solution.
This solution will help ease several pain points.
- Avoiding over/underpacking: with a solidified itinerary, travellers will know exactly what to pack for the trip
- Avoiding digging through several resources when planning for a trip
- Managing several pieces of information and communication methods for a trip (text, email confirmations etc)
- Getting an accurate understanding of the costs
The next steps are to review the technical capabilities of the team, and ensure the goal of the Product can be successfully achieved. This includes the following examples:
- Using inputs such as location and duration of stay, our product will understand where users are travelling
- Being able to pull appropriate itinerary suggestions: ie, if the group is 4 people, ensure that activities meant for pairs are not first on the list/on the list at all
I plan to continue building this project, lead our engineers and developers in creating a viable MVP and moving toward solving even more of the travel planning pain points we’ve learned from. The current standard for trip and travel planning is very disjointed, highlighting that there is room for major improvement.
Product Manager Learnings:
As a product manager, we are taught to create a simple solution to the problem that has been discovered. Although I have several interesting ideas, I need to be more mindful of the resources that are available, along with my team’s capabilities, ensuring our resources are being leveraged properly.
I have done a good job of searching for information to support the core problem, and identifying the jobs-to-be-done for the users.