Mar 8, 2024

Mar 8, 2024

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Feb 22, 2024

Article

Article

Where, When, What: Decision Making in Travel

Where, When, What: Decision Making in Travel

This may sound nerdy, but I’m fascinated by the way decisions are made about where we travel to, when we go, what we do and how we get there.  After dozens of interviews of potential users of our travel planning application, what struck me is that there is so much variation in how the trip plan layer cake is made.  I think one person described trip planning best when they said, it is a NOT linear process.  And any attempts to make a system that follows a left to right workflow is futile.

So what are some of the typical scenarios we see?

  1. You know where you are going, but need to figure out when and/or who. This is one of the most typical scenarios, where the location is known.  Usually driven by a client location or an internal office location.  In many ways this makes life so much easier for trip planners because it takes one of the most complex variables - location - off the table.  But once you have more than two people in the meeting, the hard part is aligning calendars.  None of the calendar apps are really good at looking across 8+ calendars with people from multiple companies.  It’s one thing to look across Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace within your own company.  But introduce a partner or customer and good luck!  Ultimately, you end up choosing the least worst option that maximises the people who can come.


  2. You don’t know where you are going, but you know who and when. This is the opposite of the previous example, and is usually for regularly scheduled meetings - like QBRs, annual team meetings, etc.  The number of people is typically smaller but doesn’t need to be if you plan far enough in advance.  But choosing a location is often left on the ‘organiser’ of the trip - trying to maximise value, maybe minimise cost, minimise travel time, but maximise enjoyment or output.  This one, for me, is fun, but is often the most stressful.  Spreadsheets are built up to scenario model. Google Flights or Skyscanner are stretched to the max.


  3. You know where and when, but need to figure out what you are doing. This is a little bit more granular and may even be a follow-on to one of the previous ones.  This can be thought of in two ways - the agenda of the meeting/workshop/event or the activities/restaurants that surround it.  You often see the agenda built up in a Google Sheets or through a slide deck passed back and forth.  Whereas the activities or restaurants are found from a combination of conversations, Google , Tripadvisor , etc.


What struck me as we mapped out all of these scenarios was that people relied on so many different mechanisms and tools.  Our hope is that we can bring all of these scenarios into one place, where no matter what aspects of a trip you are planning - from the big decisions to the small components - you just go to one place to gather everything up before you go.

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