As a product squad lead, I was responsible for completely re-envisioning the way that our mobile users experience TripAdvisor when they are traveling (in-destination) as opposed to simply viewing from home. This was a long-term project and entailed significant collaboration across a variety of team and functional lines.
Based on our best estimates, about 20% of all TripAdvisor users on a mobile device (including mobile web and apps) are using the site while traveling (“in-destination”). Despite significantly disparate use cases for a user who is traveling versus one who is not, the site UI did not reflect this and treat them any differently.
Between live interviews with tourists in Boston and recorded user interviews via usertesting.com, I was able to engage more than 25 travelers and ask them how they find things to do while on a trip. This led to a distinction between “Orientation” (answering questions such as “Where am I?”, “What is my next activity and how do I get there?”, and “What’s there to do nearby?”) and “Discovery” (providing suggestions for things to do) usage. To reflect this, we created “In-Destination Mode,” which is shown when the user is in or near the city that they are viewing on the site.
In-Destination Mode was created with a number of brand-new and/or updated components, some of which are not shown anywhere else on the site. These include: a “mini-map” which shows the user’s location as well as those of top things to do nearby; the user’s booked products for the next few days; a page of “last-minute deals” (products available immediately nearby); and a list of budget-friendly products, which reflects the fact that travelers tend to buy lower-priced items while traveling than in advance of their trip.
The jury’s still out on this, but early returns are extremely positive. Stay tuned to this space for more info – and feel free to look “Things To Do” on a TripAdvisor mobile app from a major city to see In-Destination Mode for yourself!