Tag Archives: features

#RELOOKUP – Rationalizing Housing’s emotional appeal

Ever since I’ve had a wifemy 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.

See nothing? View the presentation on SlideShare
Header image: Sharad Madiman / Gaurav Prakash

 

Ideas for a trip/vacation planner app – Part II

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.

Content

  • 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
  • Rate, review itineraries
  • Maintain places with linked information: map, entrance fees, best-time-of-day, visit duration
  • Maintain cities, categories, modes of transport, currencies, exchange rates
  • When creating my itinerary, similar itineraries from other users should be suggested – verified, promoted, voted itineraries on top

Marketplace

  • Directly contact agents on public itineraries
  • Agents can view & receive alerts for shared itineraries in their service area
  • Agents can submit bids that be reviewed compared side-by-side with included places/meals & merge itineraries or individual items [versioning]
  • Collaborate/negotiate with agents on a bid, and finally award
  • Allow agents to attach confirmations, visas, etc. – that remain private even when the itinerary is shared

Integration

  • Accommodation: get best prices from top 3 websites for the selected date location
  • Transport: get best prices to the destination, with “flexible dates” option, and suggest best transits worth a stop-over
  • Rentals: for road journeys, suggest available rental options
  • Traffic: use traffic information to estimate journey times between places
  • Fares: get entrance fees and estimated taxi fares
  • City cards: analyze entrance fees and suggest savings from city cards (e.g. iVenture card)

Strengths:

  • Solves a real problem for backpackers
  • Integration & market-place: lot of stickiness for a content + transaction website

Challenges:

  • It might be a while before there is enough content – itineraries
  • Ensuring simple design to handle required interactivity on all browser

Ideas for a trip/vacation planner app

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:

Itinerary Planner

  • 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]

Travel

  • 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.

 

There isn’t one great trip planner for my vacation!

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’:

  • Itinerary Planer: Create, visualize & execute itineraries on interactive maps & calendar
  • Vacation Content: Genuine holiday suggestions, based on demographics, with verified itineraries[
  • Marketplace: Get quotes from interested agents on my itinerary
  • Integration: Link with booking, review, customer engagement & social media platforms
Google map created for my Singapore holiday
Google map created for my Singapore holiday

Am I working on this project? Continue reading There isn’t one great trip planner for my vacation!