Ever since I’ve had a wife – my only one – from the advertising arena, I’ve developed a keen eye for commercials & hoardings. If you’ve been in Mumbai in the last month or so, there is no way you have missed the myriad of Housing.com banners extending for miles. Touching emotions is the magic bullet to successful campaigns in the Indian market. Housing did just that, and I feel it succeeded. But when I visited the portal, I felt it lacked the means to realize the dreams the hoardings had shown me, albeit a slick user interface.
Here is what I thought would’ve helped kick-start the #LOOKUP journey and rationalize the emotional appeal.
In the last 2 posts, I detailed the market needs, and the itinerary planner user story. Continuing with more features around maintaining content, creating a transactional marketplace for revenue generation, and finally some integration ideas to piggy-back on the success of others.
Search public itineraries based on destination
System should suggest ‘hot’ holiday options – not in a salesy way – but genuine, recent itineraries that are verified for feasibility, cost estimate, etc.
Suggestions/searches should be based searches based on demographic information: age, gender, marital status, profession, origin city
Being a product manager is about not being content with what is around. I looked all around the place for a complete vacation planner app and finally created a wish list of what such an app would constitute. Continuing from the previous post on the topic, here is a high-level user story for each of my needs:
Start with a destination of my choice and add places to it [content]
Each place can be placed on an interactive itinerary map
Add category, description, images, comments, expenses (entrance fees, meals), attachments (bookings, etc.), hyperlinks, mark them as optional
View ratings [integration]
Auto-insert the place on the interactive calendar based on best-time-of-day information [content] and allow me to adjust
Plan the journey between places by specifying mode of transport, journey time & estimate cost [content, integration]
Add meals to places & journey with preferred joint & cost estimate
Validate if too much is planned for a day based on visit duration [content] and highlight optional places from the ‘Going to’ bucket that can be moved to a ‘May be’ bucket
When moving places around, system should remind to update the journey between places
Total itinerary cost should be constantly updated and displayed in local currency so I can budget; highlight places & journeys without estimates
Filter places on the by category, expense
Share my itinerary with others on the website; email the web link
Collaborate with co-travellers on the itinerary [roadmap]
Print/Email the itinerary with selected elements
Allow including embassy information, emergency numbers, weather, etc.
Mobile site to rate places, enter actual cost & time, add public & private notes
Update current location, upload photos & add notes that loved ones can view on a shared link
Mobile app [roadmap], share location on social media [integration]
In Part 2 of this post, we talk about more features ideas and concept’s strengths and challenges.
A few months back I was planning my vacation and things weren’t as easy as I thought. I had figured out the destination, booked air tickets, short-listed places to see and hired a car. The challenge however was to set up a local itinerary. I had X places to cover in Y days with optimized routes so we weren’t spending all our time travelling. This required finding exact locations & distances between them so as to figure how much could be covered in available time. I had nothing at my disposal but Google Maps & notepad.
Based on my own needs, and the way I go about planning my vacation, here are some high-level ‘market needs’: