Travelling on a budget

What is important to you when you plan and book a holiday? There are many factors involved and of course everyone is different; but we were surprised to notice that the flight itself did not rank highly. Why? Because flying doesn’t excite us (ed - maybe different if you are fortunate enough to afford business class....).

Booking a flight ticket is boring and the effort required to get us to a destination is a nuisance. We want to get to where we want to be with minimum of fuss. Ideally as cheap as possible too (the holy grail!).

The flight ticket is the result after you’ve decided on a destination. When choosing, travellers either have a preconceived idea or they compare a few destinations before making a decision. Either way, the customer then goes to try and book a flight using a flight engine or via their favourite airline. But something frustrating happens at this point. They find the price of the ticket is more expensive than anticipated for their dates of travel. This is more likely with shorter trips where bookings are normally made less than a month in advance*. Annoyingly the user either has to exceed their budget (which leaves a bitter feeling) or repeat the cycle and find a new destination (which wastes time).

 

Fixing the user journey

Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to always put you in the destination you want to be in at the time that is most convenient for you. Sorry! But can we tackle the problem from another angle? Let’s first go back to my original question - ‘what is important….’. The 3 biggest factors we observe are - the destination, the hotel and the total cost of the trip.

We could begin by showing you random (but awesome) hotels. Travellers don’t mind spending more on a place to stay if it ticks all the boxes - but without the context of knowing if you like the destination it feels a bit empty.  So we definitely need to agree on a destination before showing you great hotels.

What if we start with the trip cost? For shorter holidays (say less than a week) the amount we spend is much more sensitive than say our yearly 3-week holiday where we might splash out that little bit more to get the comforts we deserve for working hard all year. So beginning here is not be a bad idea, especially for shorter trips. But are we open to destinations that do not feature on our radar? Do we feel up to exploring new places? Europe’s diversity and history opens up some amazing cities to be in if we are.

Looking at the major travel sites, we see so many attempts to get travellers to spend more. The reasons might seem obvious, but it is nevertheless disappointing and in our mind frustrating for the customer. It also costs the user so much time in iterating searches to eventually find something they like and fitting their preferences; another undesirable result.

Can this user journey be changed to truly be budget driven? We believe so and hope that once we launch our users help us along the journey to accomplish this ideal.

Download the app today on Android with the following link - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.takemeaway.takemeaway

*TripBarometer 2016 by TripAdvisor

  

 


Where do you want to be this weekend?

Answering our tagline is the question that TakeMeAway wants to solve. But why are we limiting our ‘scope’ to only weekends? Why not provide an app that covers say week-long holidays?

We can use a key component of startup theory to answer these questions - what is the problem you want to solve. Last week we discussed the problems we saw with Travel solutions and thus a reason ‘why’ for building the app. But we really need to be more specific in narrowing down which part of the ‘travel experience’ has the most pains.

In 2015, more than half of the tourism trips that EU residents made (58.2%) were short - i.e. a maximum of three nights. On top of that 78% of Europeans make trips within the EU itself (you can have a look at the analysis here). We concluded that most likely these three nights would fall within a weekend and that due to the short distances European cities are a great place to be for the weekend.

But how far in advance would you normally book? If it’s for a special occasion you are likely to book a few months in advance to secure exactly what you want - we believe this market is well served. However we’ve seen a surge in last minute travel (especially for hotels). For good reasons too; there has been a paradigm shift where prices are actually getting cheaper the closer you get to travel.

This means weekend trips can be affordable last minute - especially if you are open to be inspired. And Europe is full of amazing places to inspire you!

We defined ‘last minute’ as ‘this or next weekend’ (for us, this is flying out Friday evening and returning Sunday evening). In a future article we’ll share some example deals of what is possible last minute. We’re excited once we launch to listen to what our users think of the experience. We want you to be in great locations with minimum fuss!

Which leads us nicely to setting the scene for our next blog post - what is important in providing a great experience and how we plan to go about this with our Minimal Viable Product (‘MVP’). Let us know if you have some ideas yourselves via hello@TakeMeAway.io!


Another travel app?

‘Does the world need another Travel App’? It is a question we get asked on a regular basis here at TakeMeAway; and our followers may have asked themselves the same thing.

Both myself and Tom consider ourselves seasoned travellers. We’ve used booking.com and Expedia ourselves (a lot) when planning travel - both locally and all around the world. We found the user experience wasn’t exactly what we were looking for - and so we built TakeMeAway.

We had two aims when we started developing the app:

  1. To make travel what it should be - an inspirational and exciting experience.
  2. To allow the user to set their budget and book their last minute weekend away safely.

In addition existing ‘solutions’ are cumbersome and non-transparent. Especially for last minute weekend getaways. We aim to revitalise the travel experience and inspire travellers to find their perfect getaway.

We’re careful not to use the word ‘revolutionise’ with our app - th. But we can certainly try to create an elegant solution that doesn’t limit and frustrate our users. Especially with an app focusing on the last minute travel. I sincerely hope we can live up to such ambition once our app is released!

Next week, we’ll discuss why last minute travel is so important along with why we’re focusing on only weekends.

In the meantime, think about your own experiences with travel apps and if you have any thoughts and ideas, please share it with us via hello@TakeMeAway.io