PlanAway the details so you can focus on the fun! Say goodbye to the stress of spending long, tiring nights of researching a foreign city to plan the best pathing. PlanAway helps you turn your bucket list into a well optimized, thoughtful itinerary that organizes your vacation activities based on location, so you’re not trekking across the city and back in a single day.
How might we create an optimized itinerary for travelers so that they can plan their key activities stress-free?
Have you ever been super excited to go on vacation? Your flight is booked, you're excited to see the sights, and you're ready to go. But wait! You have to create an itinerary and decide when to go to each activity. You have no idea where anything is located or when places are open. Now you're stuck spending hours researching and planning routes for a city you've never been to.
If planning a vacation itinerary is something you've procrastinated on before, you're not alone. In survey responses, 91.2% of surveyed users have at least 1-5 activities they plan to go to and 76.5% place high importance on visiting those planned activities. However, 79.4% don’t plan when to visit or in which order. Only 20% actually create a detailed itinerary where they plan each meal, every activity, and how to get to each spot. This suggests that optimization is important for a pleasant vacation experience, but many don’t plan in that much detail. Users currently use several different products to search up activity locations and hours of operation. They then have to note this information on a separate product and manually plot out routes on a different mapping tool. This is one of the longest processes when planning a vacation, and the most tedious.
User Pain Points
Five 1-on-1 user interviews were conducted with a total of 34 survey respondents. There are five key pain points users currently experience:
- Users know which activities they want to visit, but don’t plan for when to go to each
- Users enjoy researching for activities, but don’t enjoy planning out routes
- Users would like to cut down time spent on researching specific locations and business hours
- Users want a well optimized itinerary, but don’t want to create one themselves
- Users want to plan a well optimized itinerary with a group of friends or family and ensure everyone is on the same page
76.4% of surveyed users place high importance on a well optimized itinerary. But only 20% actually create a detailed itinerary where they plan each meal, every activity, and how to get to each spot. This suggests that optimization is important for a pleasant vacation experience, but many don’t plan in that much detail. In user interviews, although researching for activities was the most time-consuming, it’s a task that users enjoy. Planning day-to-day logistics is the second-longest task of the process, but users don’t experience the same joy and typically do not plan in detail as this task is more tedious.
Landing on the Solution
Based on pain points, the following features are a priority:
- Optimizing activities based on location
- Optimizing activities based on business hours
These features are crucial to addressing the core needs of planning routes and deciding an order of activity.
Explanation of Solution
After completing a basic prototype, 7 users were surveyed again. Users were able to click into the prototype and saw 8 different pages. Users were asked about their thought process while navigating the app, their likes, dislikes, and what functions they would want to perform, but were not included in the prototype.
Potential future features that users would like to see:
- Flexibility: Users want to be able to move activities to different time slots and dates
- Clarity: Users want defined hours for each time slot and a start and end time for each day
- Information: Users want details on each activity including seeing location points on a map, business hours, and descriptions
Additional feedback is included in the treemap below:
Since users only saw the most basic mockup, there are several additional features that would improve user experience and satisfaction. Possible problems to address include adding more features to help users navigate, organize, and share their itineraries:
- Adding more information for each specific activity
- Business hours
- Location displayed on a map
- Activity description
- Adding a map function so users are able to see all their activities and routes plotted out on one map
- Providing a way for users to be able to share their itineraries and edit others’ itineraries
- Better UI design for users to clearly understand and easily navigate
- Incorporating activity recommendations and suggestions
Product Manager Learnings:
I learnt to redirect my focus and mindset on identifying the problem and narrowing down what it is that users are missing. Diving deep into thinking about user segmentation, pain points, and really focusing on the problem space was the biggest learning for me. I also learnt a lot about user interviews (both initial and follow-up with a prototype) and deciphering what users were saying to understand their true pain points.