Some of the interviews that we conducted over the long weekend were quite extraordinary. We were faced with a range of different individuals – from bored husbands walking the dogs to the connected youth who were updating the LOL statuses on Facebook. We accosted a few, heard “No comprendos” to a few more and eventually when we sat down and spoke to the willing, it gave us a very vivid understanding of what the customer wants. It also allowed us a chance to escape the Stanford bubble and talk to people who were not students (alright, just one student but law school shouldnt count). We are not posting verbatim transcripts but giving a sense of what the customer asked us to get out of the dry runs that we gave with our thesis.
The usual method of interviews was fairly simple – we looked at the people who seemed receptive, tallied them up with the archetype that we had in mind and asked the questions that we pivoted around our thesis. We also showed them the mockups that we put up on the slide last week and focused on areas that we thought would be helpful to the prospective user. Some of the quotes we got were amazingly helpful, some were outliers who traveled only ou
The demographic that we targeted was mostly between the ages of 25 to 35. A majority of them were married and enjoyed traveling. The feature that someone pointed out that people use would use not just friends recommendations but would also have a helpful database or even a pointer to useful links available on the place being visited. There was strong traction on the social aspect of travel
“Obviously, if my friends have been there and put up cool pictures, I would be much more inclined to go there than go to some random place that I read about”
“I feel strongly about the use of friends recommendations. There is an envy factor in going to cool places and putting up pictures that people can like and comment on. That makes me think, what a cool place, I can go there”
There was also a rather odd insight about having connectors with Places of Interest/People of interest. Sort of a benefit or an add-on would help people decide on a trip or an itinerary.
Another thing that we found out was the use of Yelp for getting recommendations. People used Yelp for their places recommendations in case of short-term travel and travel on the fly. Most people were impressed by the apps available for Yelp on the web and the iPhone but seemed to think that a tighter integration with FB would make checking for updates easier.
Seasoned travelers also loved the idea of pictorially promoting travels and places. We actually had the good luck to run in with the Senior Vice President of an Australian Investment firm who spoke about how important it was to pictorially promote Australia as a destination and that they used pictures to strike the right chord with customers.
“You can write a paragraph but really who would care about reading all that? A picture sends across a clear crisp point and gets the message across really quickly”
“An application for detecting where friends and family have gone is also an excellent prospect. There is also a seasonal component to it with people almost always wanting to go from cold to warm weather. So there is always going to be flux”
“I travel a lot and what I pay attention to is a lot of the Visa issues. Having a line in there about the practical aspect of having a vacation would be pretty interesting and give an indicator”
“I also always look for unique cultural experiences”
There was also a lot of good feedback on the mockups that we had designed. The mockups were very helpful in getting people to open up and give their own suggestions on what should be better what should be improved. The overall sentiment was to create this travel reminder and diary which would learn and make informed recommendations.