Since the beginning, Skyscanner has been focusing on building the best flight price comparison tool. However, with our new business direction to move from flights to trips, we started to explore how can we support our users throughout the whole travel journey. In this project, I joined a small team of engineers and data scientists to help pioneer into the territory of travel planning.
We need to understand better what people do when exploring travel destinations, so I worked with the research team to gather insights which allowed us create a framework to start explore ideas and concept around.
From our research, we’ve found there’re three main factors that people are considering when it comes to travel – Where, When, and How. These factors can be fixed or flexible depends on the situation, and the kind of information they need will depend on these factors.
With this framework, we could then identified the key areas to improve explore experience in our product ranging from capturing users motivation, to helping people to plan their trips. I then developed preliminary design concepts and created a few prototypes so we could start validating our hypothesis and gathering more user input.
From the research, we learned that users think about several different aspect of travel destinations, often in combination, and we need to capture what people have in mind in order to provide them with relevant content. We started with mini experimental widgets that allow users to find destinations based on specific criteria such as weather, interest, or budget.
Skyscanner is great for comparing price, but we have learned that inspirational content is also a main ingredient when making decision about travel destination, especially in explore stage. The key was to find the right balance between different kind of content and how can we present the right information at the right time.
Moving from flights to trips, we'll need to help users answer all sorts of questions that we're not currently equipped to answer – not just the fastest or cheapest way to get somewhere, or the hotel that's closest to the sights, but also everything that happens during the journey. The best way to get useful answers to these traveller questions is to ask other travellers.
One of the biggest hurdles in trip planning is when you start putting together components of your trip. It’s a tiring work trying to find the right flights or a nice place to stay. So we’re building a tool that help travellers kicking start their dream trip without much hassle. By providing a few recommended itineraries based on their personal preferences, they can pick and choose whichever best suit them and save it for later.