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CREW_Launching rental car insurance for Europe at Expedia.

Where it started

Car rental is a major business for Expedia. When it comes to European market our story has challenges where on one hand the overall car rental market was growing at 8% YOY and on another hand, Expedia’s rental car business was shrinking by approx 6% YOY. This story tries to address this challenge and Insurance can help here! How?

In short, offering insurance increases the value proposition of renting a car and enables users to book with confidence. (more details in sections below).

Why this story

One, solving a strong user need with equally strong business need is exciting. Secondly, launching a new product in an uncharted market is challenging. Question is how to scale global products which could empathise with social context, cultural realities, local users and business landscape? There is no clear answer to how we can achieve the same. In this story, we try to outline our approach.

Problem statement

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Insights from the market landscape and Users need

Expedia is the only major online travel platform operating in Europe which doesn’t offer insurance option, indicating a major gap in our offering.

In Europe renting a car works differently from the USA. As per regulations, suppliers must include a ‘Basic insurance’ with every car (not a case in the USA). This ‘Basic insurance’ comes with a dreadful ‘excess’.

Understanding excess is important for this story. So, let’s understand it through an example. Assume a car is damaged due to collision and repair cost is £3000. As per basic insurance policy, User has to cover first £1000 from her pocket whereas the basic insurance only covers the rest £2000. In this example, £1000 is an ‘excess’.

Here users want to simply reduce this excess as it might be financially draining. Our aim is to provide an option to the user to upgrade ‘basic insurance’ which reduce the excess to £0 (what's better than ‘0’ in this case). Additionally, providing broader coverage with more benefits (which will be discussed later).

Users need

Qualitative observation — This added insurance product is ‘value for money’ only ranging from £6 -8 per day. It provides peace of mind where a user is at least protected financially in case of an unforeseen event. Users have an option to buy a similar product at the counter while picking up the car but they generally cost three to four times.

Quantitative observation — Between 40 to 80% of users (40% in France and 80% in Germany) upgrade basic protection while renting a car. Approx. 15% of the total spent on renting a car constitutes of insurance-related expenses.

Business opportunity

~£16–22 M opportunity for brand Expedia group GP.
~£4–7 M annual increment in Car Line of business GP.
A strong indication from a monetary point of view which impacts both insurance and car line of business.

Design Strategy and process

We adopted a strategy to achieve an MVP as quickly as possible (minimum viable product) simultaneously also creating a plan of action for Northstar (close to ideal) solution. Given the limited time for research, we planned a 5 days Design Swarm described below.

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Design and testing

In order to test the hypothesis and ideas, multiple peer reviews and user testing were conducted. For example, peer review with the car’s line of business helped in making offering more neutral and less enforcing. The legal review was also conducted simultaneously to determine the legal limitations and how to incorporate them without interfering with core experience. Finally, user testing helped in making the product more straightforward.

Here are a few examples of how designs evolved in the process.

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Prototype MVP

This is the prototype of the final designs we shipped for MVP.

Concept for Northstar

As mentioned above one of the deliverables from this project was to set up the vision for Northstar. Northstar is a long term vision. This mock is based on a unified design system. A fresh look to Expedia product. Here the user has a choice to pick from option suitable for her. It could be expanded to include the upgrade option provided by suppliers.

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The team behind the project

Content strategist: Duaa Saif, Resham Beri
Design Manager: Mohit Verma
Developers: Ankit Agarwal, Ankur Kushwaha, Bharti Mehra, Divya Gupta, Gurpreet Singh, Karan Tirthani, Sibesh Kumar
Engineering Manager: Priyanka Jain
Product Manager: Navya Anand
Technical Product Manager: Gagan Narang
UX Designer: Vikas Goel

Design SWARM participants: Ashwyn Singhal, Jyotika Bindra, Ritika Suri Mendiratta, Navya Anand, Vikas Goel, Mohit Verma,

Thanks for reading. Reach out if you would like to share feedback or know more at vikasgoel91@gmail.com.

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