How might we make trip planning easy and effective for travelers so that the process is not stressful?
Traveling and taking vacations is something we all love to do any chance we get! Whether for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary, casual trip for relaxation, or cultural exploration, planning trips can feel like a stressful part-time job. Travelers spend weeks or even months researching, visiting numerous websites, and organizing an itinerary.
Since the world pandemic in 2020, global regions experienced a massive decrease in international arrivals. Through March 2021, the US travel economy had cumulative losses of $645B. However, now in 2023, “54% of travelers plan to take more trips this year than last year” and travelers are planning more last minute trips than ever before! According to an article on Psychology Today, trip planning is the most stressful aspect of traveling/vacationing. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), stress is “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation”.
Maybe you want a more relaxing and luxury type of vibe, or maybe hiking and adventure is more your style. Regardless of the type of trip, occasion or even number of people you’re traveling with, the planning process can seem daunting. So, how do we fix that?
User Pain Points
Our preliminary user research validated that trip planning is stressful and gave specific aspects to focus on for our product. Through an online survey and user interviews, I found that travelers were stressed due to wasting time searching multiple websites for reviews, feeling overwhelmed by conflicting recommendations, and missing out on unique experiences. Travelers desire a way to avoid searching multiple websites to find activities/excursions that match their preferences and travel style. I also found that the highest valued aspects of traveling/vacationing were: new experiences and activities/excursions that match their travel style.
While conducting research, of the 85 responses received, I found that 55% of Millennial and Gen Z travelers find trip planning to be very stressful, followed by 25% that do not find it stressful and 20% that are neutral. Plenty of factors can contribute to this stress such as researching activities, accommodation, food, and flights for the trip style that matches your budget and preferences. My research synthesis also proved that the top 3 most stressful aspects of trip planning were: Staying within budget, researching in general, and finding activities of interest.
Our preliminary user research validated that trip planning is stressful and gave specific aspects to focus on for our product. Through my online survey and user interviews, I found that travelers desire a way to avoid searching multiple websites to find activities/excursions that match their preferences and travel style. I also found that the highest valued aspects of traveling/vacationing were: new experiences and activities/excursions that match their travel style.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the travelers’ pain points, a proposed solution is a platform/mobile application that allows easy customization of travel preferences, easy access to hidden gems, and an all-in-one platform that aggregates reviews and recommendations from various sources.
Explanation of Solution
This solution would be an effective way for users to search by their travel/vacationing style and budget, to find activities/excursions of their interest. It could be a type of search engine resource, suggesting experiences that match the style of traveler in more detail (traveler vs vacationer). The solution should also allow users to see a list of social media review videos and online recommendations for decision making of their itinerary. Lastly, the solution should incorporate budgeting and spending limitation refiners which will allow users to explore things in their budget but also of interest to them.
Possible additional problems to address and/or features to add:
- Group Collaboration: Allow for users to collaborate with others within the app to build an itinerary together
- User Interaction: Allow users to build community on the app to share rating, reviews, and recommendations of their own
- Itineraries: Define how itineraries will be made on the app while utilizing Ai travel agents and users creating their own
- Social Media Integration: Gain knowledge on how to allow users to receive reviews and recommendations from multiple social media platforms without searching through each one
Product Manager Learnings:
Over the past few weeks, I have fully immersed myself into the world of Product Management. It has been a very exciting and insightful experience for me. Co.Lab affirmed my love for Product and allowed me to learn by doing. As someone who has a passion for problem-solving, innovation and people, I found this Sprint Program to be super informative and engaging. I especially enjoyed learning how to dig deeper into the problem space to ensure the right problem is being solved. Being able to conduct user interviews and an online survey to validate my problem space, helped me to realize that my initial solution would not have been as helpful as I thought. This taught me the importance of utilizing data insights and research synthesis as a path leading to the solution for your targeted user. Co.Lab has sharpened my skills in strategic thinking, creating a research plan, data-driven decision making, adaptability, writing a product requirements document and customer discovery. Thank you for an amazing learning experience!