A centralized app for all your travel needs; Travelo streamlines the trip planning experience by providing personalized recommendations, in-app booking and collaboration tools. Say goodbye to excess time, stress and money spent planning, booking and coordinating trips and let Travelo do the work.
How might we streamline and personalize the trip planning experience for travelers so that it reduces planning time and stress while optimizing for personal needs?
Vacation is something that almost all of us look forward to. However, with the amount of information and resources available online, planning vacations/trips can be time-consuming, overwhelming and expensive. A U.S. study conducted pre-COVID-19 stated that 67% of travelers experience stress due to ‘information overload’, 41% experience stress when scheduling trip activities, and 67% have experienced arguments with travel companions as a result of the stress caused by planning . Additionally, with the remaining effects of COVID-19, trip planning has become more difficult than before.
My research among 25 millennials across North America validated these problems and revealed further problems with the travel process such as:
- Top sources of finding information for the chosen destination are 1) Online research (e.g. travel blogs, Googling), followed by 2) friends or family suggestions, 3) social media, then 4) travel books.
- 88% of participants book their flights, accommodations, activities and food on separate websites.
- 44% of participants said their top stressor when planning a trip is “Overwhelming amount of information online, don’t know where to begin.”
- Cost is the #1 concern when planning or booking transportation, accommodations and activities.
- 68% of participants spend the most time planning accommodations
With a focus on millennials & gen-z customers, the major problems faced in the trip planning experience include: information overload, unnecessary stress & time spent, cost/budget concerns, coordination with travel companions, separate booking platforms (manual planning). Now is the time to tackle these problems, with more and more people traveling each year and with COVID-19 restrictions loosening globally.
Current solutions range from 1) travel-deal websites such as Expedia or Kayak which may provide good prices for 1-2 segments (e.g. hotel + car) but lack personalization due to sponsorships, or 2) trip planning apps such as Prava or Wanderlog which enable group discussions, expenses splitting or route planning. Currently, no solution tackles multi-platform booking for transportation, accommodations, activities and food in one holistic platform, while enabling collaboration with travel companions.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the major pain points illustrated by millennial & gen-z travelers, I wanted to focus on reducing information overload and time spent planning and booking trips. This led me to propose the following solution:
A centralized app for personalized trip recommendations, booking and collaboration, to reduce travelers’ stress caused by information overload, financial constraints and coordination with travel companions.
In the Travelo app, a traveler can input their known trip details (e.g. location, dates, season, # of travel companions) and travel preferences (e.g. type of accommodation, budget, activity interests and food preferences). Based on these inputs, Travelo will develop a personalized trip plan with recommendations for each area, which the traveler can then book directly from the app if desired. Travelers can also collaborate with others to create an optimized trip plan that meets everyone’s needs, and also view all trip plans in one centralized location for quick and easy reference.
I am aiming to pursue this problem space and product idea with a team of designers and engineers within Co.Lab. Some of the next steps would include:
- Continued validation from users
- MVP (perhaps a landing page to gauge interest)
- Laser focus on one segment (e.g. focus on building one of the segments really well, or all of them within a specific region of the world)
- Initial user tests
- Competitive analysis & market sizing
- Define future roll-out plan
Beyond Co.Lab, I would love to see this app become a reality so we can help travelers worldwide.
- Newsdesk, “Stats: Stress causing 37 percent of travelers to cancel or delay vacation,” Travel Agent Central, 22-May-2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-stress-causing-37-percent-travelers-to-cancel-or-delay-vacation#:~:text=Too%20many%20choices%3A%20Two%20in,to%20do%20during%20their%20trip. [Accessed: 20-Jan-2023].
Links to documents created prior for reference:
Product Manager Learnings:
- Majority of your time should be spent on the problem space; really identifying the key pain points, the scale of the problem and who the target users are.
- Don’t underestimate the power of qualitative and quantitative research; both methods provided me with valuable findings that guided my solution ideation and overall strategy.
- Avoid personal bias in problem discovery and solution ideation; my initial thought of what this product might look like has changed since I first started because I came in with bias. I expect it to continue changing the more it evolves and the more user feedback I get.
- Leverage your PM network/community! The Co.Lab group has provided me with great resources, feedback and even cool new tools for wireframing, mockups, etc. that helped me get to where I am now.