Case Study 02 | Personalized itinerary, optimized by geography, seasonality, etc.
Utrip's itinerary was originally the core experience of Utrip’s product; Travelers would input their preferences and receive a personalized itinerary, which they could further customize. This redesign aimed to give travelers more control over the experience, while taking feature parity, UI consistency, and existing partner satisfaction into consideration.
The new UI/UX gave travelers more trip planning control, which improved engagement with the platform.
Increased avg. time on itinerary page
How might we use traveler preferences to create personalized itineraries?
We guerilla interviewed 10 travelers, analyzed 300+ survey responses, and conducted 12 usability studies.
Vacation shouldn’t require a schedule
70% of travelers did not appreciate the itinerary scheduling activities at precise times, for specified durations.
Context builds trust in AI
65% of travelers did not understand why a specific recommendation or hotel appeared on their itinerary.
Favorites should take priority
Travelers were unsure how to easily determine if and when their favorites had been scheduled on their itinerary.
Lodging location is key
78% of travelers said that, aside from price, location is the most important factor when deciding where to stay.
Ideation & Prototyping
We rapidly transformed our initial ideas into prototypes to test with industry experts, and more travelers, to narrow product scope and focus feature requirements.
Empower travelers via personalization
In an effort to reduce stress, activities on the itinerary are now placed in recommended day segments, instead of at specific times. If an activity has a fixed start time, it is displayed prominently on the front of the card. Additionally, travelers have the ability to drag and drop activities to other recommended day segments.
A traveler favoriting a particular point of interest or hotel is a very strong signal, therefore, our new design gives travelers a top-down view of where their favorites are located on the map, at all times.
Empower travelers via personalization
Most users we interviewed completely missed the white space in the middle of the screen (which contained the traveler preference controls).
Design & Iteration
We designed an itinerary experience that makes trip planning easy, enjoyable, and personal by making the itinerary more flexible, informative, and tailored to each individual’s preferences.
The new user experience gave travelers more trip planning control and provided them with additional context, which led improved engagement with the platform and increased average time on the itinerary by 204%.
KPIs should be contextual
Prior to implementing merchandising functionality, one of Utrip's core KPIs was the number of itineraries generated. So it was initially thought to be negative when a partner saw a significant increase in user conversion, but a decrease in itineraries planned. In reality, those users had already completed most of their trip planning, and were therefore satisfied using the Travel Planning experience to find a few tour recommendations.
Even though users could now see their favorites on the map, through additional usability studies, we learned that users didn’t want to scroll through the itinerary to find them. We added small hearts to each day tab that includes favorites, as a simple, yet effective indication that the trip is based on the things they really want to do and see.
Post-launch, we learned that users wanted to see similar recommendations in context to one another, so we built a recommendations container (based on user favorites), that is displayed in the detail view for each activity. The container is versatile and deployable, meaning that in the future it could be used to recommend other types of items (e.g. lodging) in a variety of experiences (e.g. email).
What I Learned
The new Personalized Itinerary was a growth opportunity for the product and engineering teams, as we began to transform, and modernize, Utrip’s core product.
Design documentation overhaul
When I first joined the product team, Utrip was using Adobe Illustrator and Google Docs to communicate design requirements to the engineering team, which meant that changes to these lengthy documents were unnecessarily time consuming. We took this as an opportunity to move to new software (Sketch, Zeplin, etc.) to streamline the design documentation process in the future.
Get the right people in the room
We learned that it is important to turn everyone that will be working on a project into a stakeholder. If we can get representation, and buy-in, from all of the teams that will be executing a project from the beginning, not only can we develop an interdisciplinary solution, but we increase the likelihood of success.