Designing for Travel
Millennials travel more than ever. Recent studies show that 75% of millennials want to travel abroad, compared to 52% of other generations, and 58% of millennials prefer to travel with their friends, compared to 38% of other generations.
I wanted to investigate the travel habits of millennials and find a way to make the trip planning process easier. Being someone who plans a lot of trips, I’ve used a variety of methods to plan, but wanted to see how others created trips and what their process was.
I interviewed 5 millennials ranging from ages 21-28, asking them about their travel behaviors while planning trips with their friends. I also had them take me through their most recent trips and describing their processes, identifying key players and pain points.
Group Leaders vs. Group Contributors
The process of planning trips often involves a group leader and group contributors. Group leaders often have the highest stake and proactivity in the trip, while group contributors are those who have a medium to low stake in the trip.
The User Journey: Creating Trips
Millennial travelers follow a similar pattern of steps when looking for things to do on a trip. As people progress through each step, more effort is involved to categorize, eliminate and organize events into a cohesive plan. When a trip involves multiple people, the job becomes increasingly difficult as people work to agree on similar or most popular activities.
When planning trips with friends, a large investment of time lies in exploring what to do on a trip, categorizing, eliminating and deciding on what people want to do most.
Getting people to decide on what to do (especially in larger parties), is a challenge - especially when multiple steps are involved. The amount of effort required to make decisions increases as more steps are involved, resulting in decision fatigue.
Creating the User Flow
In order to prevent users from doing more work, I had to create a flow that was simple enough to use, yet exploratory enough to provide the right information to people planning, both trip leaders (who tend to have a larger investment and proactivity in planning) and trip participants (who tend to have less investment but whose proactivity varies).
Reducing Planning Effort
Friends can explore and add activities to a trip, while the app simultaneously tracks votes. By combining exploration with decision, as well as multiple opportunities to provide input, the amount of effort needed to plan a trip decreases.
LIVE PLANNING DOC
By creating a live document that explicitly tracks how many votes an activity has, people can easily see activities the majority of the group wants to do on the trip.
In future optimizations, I want to explore the feasibility of a more implicit model of voting, taking social signals a variety of outlets (friends, social network, etc.), as well as seasonal and '“best scenario” signals to better define a top activity within a trip, and even work to reduce the organizational aspect of the user journey by generating itineraries. This, of course, would need a large resource investment to start, but would eventually lead to a more accurate prediction model.
Flavor Profile Exploration
Helps take predetermined signals from other users to provide input on a trip, even if the user doesn’t actively vote.
These signals could also help define an “ideal itinerary” generator that users could create in order to further reduce the effort of planning a trip.