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Optimising the mobile experience for holiday bookings

Mission: Improving the mobile experience of booking package holidays and driving conversion with a three-digit increase.

Since this is an on-going project, all data in this case study has been anonymized and the travel company will be referred to as "Travelport".

Project Summary

This project was a co-creation partnership between DAYONE and a big player in the travel industry. Goal of this project was to optimise the mobile booking-site in order to drive conversion.

By the end of this project we had completely redesigned the sales funnel from searching for a package holiday to booking. We tested the redesigns, document validated designs as components in a design system and enabled the client to independently scale the components.

My responsibilities included:

Phase 1: Emphatise & Define

Supporting user Interviews (remote), User Research including competitor analysis and analytics, Value Proposition Canvas, Customer Journey Mapping

Phase 2: Ideate & Prototype

Planning and facilitating ideation workshops based on Design Thinking principles, wireframes, mid-fidelity prototyping

Phase 3: Testing & Scaling

Support with user test with 6 participants, analysis results, documenting UX components and principles in design system

The challenge

From summer 2019 until spring 2020 we partnered up with a big player in the travel industry in our co-creation studio located directly in the heart of Kreuzberg, Berlin. Our mission was to rethink the mobile experience for package holiday bookings and by that driving conversion up with a three-digit increase.

Searching and planning holidays is a process that can take up to 90 days and -without surprise- mostly takes places on mobile. However, booking holidays is a task that is very desktop-oriented or even takes place offline, in traditional travel agencies. How can we improve the experience of booking holidays on your mobile phone?

Defining the problem space

We started the project with extensive user research and competitor analysis to familiarize ourselves with the travel industry and package holidays. For me that stage is crucial - I love to start projects by gathering as much information and data as I can get and analyse them to better understand the problem I'm trying to solve.

With the help of online surveys and telephone interviews, we gained a better understanding of Travelportal's customers. We then used this data to create several Customer Profiles and Value Proposition Canvasses. These canvasses helped us identify which customer groups had the most potential for us and which jobs-to-be-done, obstacles and benefits they had.

Value Proposition Design

The Value Proposition Canvas is my preferred method to better understand customers and businesses. It consists of two parts: the customer profile and the value map. It clarifies your customer's jobs-to-be-done, gains and pains and helps identify the value proposition your business has to offer.

This method is a great way to position product offerings around real customer demands.

Understanding our customer

The key insights we gathered with the help of the Value Proposition Canvas showed us that the process of searching and planning holidays is a long and chaotic process which can take up months.

The initial inspiration and exploration for a holiday happens casually on mobile. Customer will read blogs, search Pinterest and get inspired on social media. They might share a link to an interesting offer with their travel companionship or bookmark a website.

In later research stages, people start to collect notes, share links to information on Whatsapp, keep dozens of tabs with interesting offers open and most importantely: try to compare offers on different platforms. This a tedious task, as each travel platform offers different information and packages. Oftentimes, this is the point where customers will switch from their mobile phone to desktop. The reason being simple: a bigger screens allows for easier comparison. The research -and even more so- planning stage trigger stress and feelings of insecurity, because people are afraid they will not get the best deal for the best price or get overwhelmed by all the information available.

Lastly, the booking stage is highly stressful and holiday feelings couldn't be further away at this point. Apart from the decision fatigue, people are frustrated about having to fill in all the forms and double-check their data to seal the deal. Because this stage requires so much attention ("I'm spending thousand of euros on this holiday, what if something goes wrong during booking?") people almost always prefer to finish their bookings on desktop where they have a better overview of all the information.

Hypothesis-driven design

Good design is proven design. Design that is continuously tested, iterated and validated. Hypothesis-based design offers a framework in which we can test our assumed solutions and validate them with empirical and measurable evidence.

We started the project with a customer experience analysis based on qualitative and quantitative data. These insights show the most important or impactful problems. Value generation grows proportionally to problem solving, therefore we focused on the most important or impactful problems when defining hypotheses.

Our team defined ten hypotheses to drive conversion of package holiday bookings on mobile phones. These hypotheses focused on personalising package holidays, offering ways to compare offers easier, allow people the quickly save and share information and tailor their offer to their needs and wishes. We also thought about ways to make booking easier and faster, for example by offering a splitted booking process where people can reserve first and pay later.

Ideation Workshops

During ideation workshops, I use a broad array of Design Thinking and Design Sprint practices. I always make sure to find a good mix of methods that spark creativity but are also accessible for people with no previous experience with Design Thinking.

Some of my favorite methods are: Lightning Talks, Crazy 8s, Brainwriting, Solution Sketches and Idea Galleries.

Problem defined - solutions found.

With the insights from our user research in our backpack and our hypothesis to give us direction, we set path to find solutions during our ideation workshops. These workshops always focused on one hypothesis and one How Might We?-question and brought together experts from different fields to explore the problem space. This cross-disciplinary approach was extremely valueable, as it gave us new perspectives and knowledge.

As the facilitator of these ideation workshops, I use an approach that follows the Double-Diamond-process: my first goal is to collect as many ideas from as many perspectives as possible. Afterwards the ideas with the most potential will be used for solution sketches. Again, these solutions start out as quick 'n dirty sketches before we turn the ones with the most potential in well-thought out concepts.

Build-measure-learn

Ideas that we gathered during our ideation workshops were used as the foundation for our concepts. Following the principles of "build-measure-learn", we implemented our ideas in bi-monthly sprints. We worked closely together with developers, product owners and user researchers to get our ideas tested, improved and implemented fast.

Due to the COVID19-pandemic in early 2020, this project is currently paused.