Personalizing The Travel Industry
The travel industry is overwhelming
I recently returned from a trip to Amsterdam (What a lovely, lovely city. I’d recommend the small but awesome bar “Tales & Spirits” we found, by accident, exactly matching what we were searching for). Another two weeks this year I spend in Egypt. So, two trips — two different experiences when booking the hotels, flights and things to do online. It was a mess to find the best prices on several websites, compare the hotels while constantly disocerving new placces I’d like aswell. I think you experienced something similar in the past, right?
For my short trip to Amsterdam I tried AirBnB for the first time ever. What an awesome experience. They did a hell of a job to garantee a remarkable user experience on their site while booking. Still, which things to do in Amsterdam with my three friends was missing. Which restaurants should we visit? Where could we celebrate my friends birthday? I had to crawl the web again. I ended up on TripAdvisor looking for 2 days and writing things down to remember them — with pencil and paper.
There are lots of awesome companies out there trying to fix this massive online market for travel booking and inspiration for an upcoming trip.
There needs to be a better way
These experiences are one of the reasons I am building a new product. I’m working on a personalization engine because of the lack I see in current travel websites and apps. I think we all need to invest way to many hours to find way to many bad recommendations about way to many wrong destinations for ourself and our beloved ones we are traveling with.
With tripsuit I will change that. I am building a webapp where you will find trip recommendations based on your interests. It will have an awesome user interface, a good way for you to navigate trough the site without distractions and clear focus on the most important part: You and your interests.
Starting with your interests
Personalization consists of a deep relationship. Just like your personal travel agent in the good ol’ travel agency, tripsuit has to know you and your basic preferences, your budget, thoughts about your next or last holidays or things you enjoy doing in your leisure time. In order to find the perfect trip for you, you could answer questions about your favorite sport, dish or bar you found on your last trip to Praque. (By the way, try the U tri Pstrosu restaurant in the city center to eat a tasty typical Czech meal with your friends. Again, found this per accident on Foursquare while being there last summer).
In order to make it both as easy and as entertaining as possible, I built this quiz for the product. In less than 2 minutes the user can insert all the information tripsuit needs to present the first results. We will ask simple questions such as “How old are you?” or “Of the cities you have already visited, which one was your favorite?”. See how this will look like:
Beautiful, right? Nice colors paired with a strong focus on the single question. You can skip whenever you like, only answer the questions you like to answer. You are in control of everything you do, the site is built around you.
Based on your answers in the quiz, the things you like or don’t like and an intelligent engine we will recommend you trips. Therefore we will crawl the world wide web for hotels, flights, activities, restaurants, bars, tours or fun places to see and rank it especially for you.
Explore trips that suit you
Have you ever received travel recommendations from your friends? “Go check that burger restaurant, it has such a nice interior. Pretty comfy, yummy burgers — you’re gonna love it! And don’t miss the bar in the back of the place — it looks awesome with all these lighted bottles.”
I got these recommendations from friends via Facebook, WhatsApp or even on the phone. So, same problem here again. I have to google it, read about it and evaluate if it fits my style. Lot’s of work to do. I want to focus on the nice things of the upcoming trip.
It’s all about the feeling that arises while talking and thinking about these places. It’s about the pictures we imagine about them, it’s about the feelings they carry. It’s about the relation between them and you — will you match? Sounds a bit like dating. Maybe a tinder for travel would be an awesome product?
I took this approach and realized an emotional user experience based on strong images. It will be easy to navigate so the user can focus on the big pictures and videos of the destination. Here is how your personal results will be presented to you. Notice the green circle showing your personal fit rate for Paris?
You can dive even deeper into one city. Let’s say you are interested in visiting Paris. You want to check out more about the city. See the people, bars and what’s worth seeing, where to spend your time.
I absolutely love the way AirBnB is giving you emotional insights into a city with featured neighborhoods. Too sad this is only available for a few cities. I think, due to the massive amount of pictures and infos we find online these days this could be possible to realise for every city worldwide. So, with tripsuit we will do exactly that:
After being convinced of the city the user is presented with the best matching hotels and activities, such as restaurants and bars. Again, no need to search for hours across multiple websites — I imagine a site where all hotels are listed from across the web (like Expedia, Priceline, TripAdvisor and booking.com). The first partner for tripsuit we found in Expedia, but we are looking forward to expanding this as soon as possible.
This is how a clear, user friendly hotel ranking will look like:
Write your own story
“So, you just returned from Amsterdam, right? Tell me everything!” Yap, been there. That’s the most fun part. We live for stories to tell. We tell our friends about our experiences, the cool bar we found, the sweet girl we’ve seen in this park near the river. We tell stories about our trips. Our stories transport feelings, emotions.
With tripsuit you will write even better stories. At least, thats the way I imagine it. You will experience the good stories setting you apart from the people around you, because you find the spots no one else was visiting because they got the standard recommendations and tourist spots from their travel provider. You will impress with the adventures, people you met, animals you saw, wars you fought. You know, that really awesome stuff.
I took this feeling and built a separate feature for it: the storybook. In your personal storybook you can save all the things tripsuit recommends to you. You will plan your trip, save your favorite places to stay, bars, restaurants, surf clubs or bike tours in your storybook and see it being filled with life. Write your own story and experience better trips with lots of stories to tell afterwards.
The plan for the next weeks
So, at the moment I am building this with 4 more colleagues. We are developing the heart of our app—the engine. The magic will happen in there. Your interests will be matched with a huge inventory of hotels, flights and activities. Also, we built the frontend with the design you’ve just seen here. We are thinking about our growth strategy, our Marketing and our Corporate Identity. Ideas very welcome!
I think, we have a revolutionary user interface, built with native app feeling directly in the browser. In less than 4 weeks we will be ready to give the first of you exclusive access. You can sign up for our closed beta to be among the first 1000 users to experience tripsuit.
I think I personally will love the new way to find trips online. Hope you will, too. I think you will come up with even better suggestions on how to optimize this digital travel agent. I would love to hear your thoughts on the screens shown above, features you would like to see or other ideas you have. Please leave your comments or send them via mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About me: Maximilian, 26 year old product guy, designer and entrepreneur from Germany. With tripsuit I am building my second company after I founded and sold my first venture in 2013. I am currently living in Cologne.