Start with a 3-person team that is passionate about travel; end with an app that solves many of the problems when traveling with a group of friends. Our team was tasked with developing a new product for an existing brand.
The initial question:
“What are some of the challenges that travelers are facing today despite all the latest technology for travel at their fingertips?”
— According to an AirBnB survey of 2000 online participants, 79% of US travelers said they’ve been on multiple group trips in the last five years.
There are many apps on the market that make travel planning easier both for prior and during the trip. Through interviews and surveys we found that the problems in travel planning stemmed from coordinating larger groups. While group travel is very easy during the college years (everyone picks the same group deal and schedules are typically in cohesion) things change wildly in adulthood. Differing schedules and budgets cascade down to differences in flight arrivals and accommodations, as well as the ability to attend activities and events at the destination.
Organizing a large group trip involves a lot of planning and decision making. The group needs to stay in constant communication to ensure they are coordinated on flights, accommodations, and shared expenses. They also need to make decisions on dining options and activities.
How might we help streamline the coordination, communication, and planning of group trips for trip goers in one place?
Competitive Matrix and Feature Analysis:
We conducted a competitor analysis to evaluate the landscape for group travel services. We were able to identify Tripper Keeper’s 3 main competitors: Prava, Travefy. and GrupTrip. We then delved into each application to see what features they brought to the table.
After feature analysis the question posed “What apps or resources do trip goers actually use?”
We found that users rely mostly on Google Sheets and Google Docs to collaborate on creating travel plans.
- 4 in person interviews
- Interviewed both trip organizers and participants
- Asked questions:
— Past experience with group trips
— Coordinating plans with group
— Flight & hotel plan communication
— Activity & food decisions
— Settling expenses
“It’s fine as long as everyone has a similar strategy for planning, planning the trip is like working on project, there are people more engaged or less engaged. It’s better if one person plans everything and others just say ‘yes’.”
Andrew the Organizer:
- He takes the reins on coordiating with everyone
- Knowledgable and well-traveled.
- Sick of sifting through everyone’s emails with regards to the trip.
Erika the Socialite / Tripper:
- Prefers to leave planning to someone else
- Likes to be appraised to what’s happening on the trip
- Has many opinions on food and activities
We chose Google as the brand we would pitch our product to. Prior to that we looked at Google Trips, their current offering for travel planning,
Google Trips is a new app that helps you plan an upcoming trip.
- Provides suggestions suggestions for activities and dining
- Helps you develop trip day plans
- Automatically syncs hotel and flight information from your Gmail
- Provides downloadable travel guides for offline viewing
Google Trips vs Tripper Keeper
Google Trip Problems: Individual, Fragmented Communication, Separate Plans making
Tripper Keeper Solution: Group, Central Chat, Consolidated and shared itinerary and plan making
Prior to design we had to confirm what platform the first iteration would appear on. Even though Google is android based and our design uses those design cues we used the below survey to determine what most travelers carry on their trips. This lead to our first design to be on iOS mobile.
What do our Personas need and what have we learned users are looking to streamline travel planning with friend?
USABILITY TESTING ROUND 1
USABILITY TESTING ROUND 2 RESULTS
So how will Tripper Keeper add value to Google
•Google has many apps based around collaboration it stands to reason they would be open to continuing this trend for the travel offering.
•Many users are already using google products to coordinate travel (Sheets/Docs)
•With a Google Group travel app user can > invite people > gives google a larger user base from non-google users. — If 6 of your friends are on gmail and their flight data is being pulled in to the app automatically it may entice you to setup a gmail account.
- Continue conducting usability tests and iterating on the designs
- Collaborate with Google developers to discuss API capabilities
- Discuss incorporating a social component so users can share the digital archive of their trip
Through research the team identified key areas that needed remedy to ensure group travel planning and coordinating was more pleasant.
Many of our users already rely on Google products in their planning; therefore, we chose Google as our target brand.
Aside from having a powerful GMail APIs, Google Maps and Flights, Google were a great brand to entice into Tripper Keeper, We noticed Google Trips, their current answer for coordinating travel, lacked the ability for group collaboration. As backed by insights from our interviews, issues don’t arise from individual travel, but from coordinating large group travel. It is that insight which lead to our solution and a great addition for the brand to explore.
We validated our prototype with users. The feedback was that it was a simple app, clear and easy to understand and something they were all excited to use in the the future.