Skyhook_logoThis post is part of the series called “Designing for Place” brought to you by Skyhook. As a mobile-first world takes over design, location becomes an essential component. The series examines the many ways place needs to be considered. 

In our earlier posts in the series, we looked at how precise location data can provide richer insights into your users’ behavior and interests. These insights can help you build experiences that reduce friction between your user opening the app and getting value. We call this “appticipation.”

The kind of contextual data this provides lets you understand exacatly where and when your users are accessing your app and its functionalities. Armed with that intel, you can design your app to become vital to the daily life of your users — with the end goal of delivering personalized app experiences to each of them.

A great to get at this data is usage analysis we outlined earlier: now, we’ll take those findings and see how a travel app like TripAdvisor can apply them towards its existing app features to better categorize and personify its users with appticipation.

TripAdvisor already has a smart app

TripAdvisor does have location on their app today. Their goal is to help users plan their trips with the aid of past travelers’ reviews. To do this, they offer a search feature involving location called the “Near Me Now” screen. This helps users when they are on the move and are in need of a hotel, restaurant, or other attractions nearby. “Near Me Now” offers options to search by hotels, restaurants, attractions, flights, and vacation rentals nearby with associated reviews to browse through. Once the user has traveled to a destination, they can mark the “been” button and rate the destination. If the user is looking for places to travel to nearby, it can save destinations with the “save” button to return to it later.


But what if we took that user experience to another level based on the location of the user? Let’s walk through some examples of how TripAdvisor can better leverage location and context for its users:

Imagining the future could make it smarter 

With location-based context, the TripAdvisor app can know when a user is home or traveling. Furthermore, because of location history, TripAdvisor can know if the user has traveled to that place before, or if it’s a first visit. With this information, the TripAdvisor app can deliver relevant content to the user based on whether they are at home planning a trip, traveling in a new and foreign place, or returning to a previous destination.

For those planning trips, the TripAdvisor app could have a “Planning Mode” to help users easily research and make decisions. And when users are far from home, TripAdvisor could recognize that they are travelling and offer a more prominent “Near Me Now” experience to help them find their way around.

Once the app knows that the users are back home, they could then be prompted to “write a review” on the places they have visited. Getting this remind when a user’s just returned home enables them to review  the trip when the memories are still fresh.

iphoneSee appticipation in action — download Skyhook’s CardStar case study and Dynamic UX eBook.




Screen #1: Persona-based modes

Using Personas, TripAdvisor can understand their users better based on their history, and serve the right modes appropriately. In the instance of TripAdvisor, they can categorize their users by the type of travel they do:  Business versus Personal.

A user may fall into the “Business Traveler” category if their location history shows that they have traveled to the same place many times within a six- month window. If a user falls into this “Business Traveler” Category, the app could know certain things about them: like will they need a hotel with conference rooms available. If a user falls under the “Personal Traveler” category, it might mean that they’re traveling to a far destination that they have never been to before and would be better served by providing information about sightseeing destinations and nearby restaurants.

Screen #2: Travel persona filters

Taking this mode concept a bit further, users can have the option to filter through what they’re searching for to get the easiest path to victory. Knowing the persona could help deliver relevant preferences to that user, including those based on other users of the same persona. That being said, personas can change: a usual business traveler may is likely going to take a vacation every now and then.

Having the capability to flip between modes (which we demonstrate in the 2nd screen with the tabbed “business versus vacation” modes) would allow users to easily switch from requiring free Wi-Fi at nearby coffee shops for meetings to top restaurants recommended by locals.

Bottom Line: By having these other prompts, travel apps like TripAdvisor can add context to their app to anticipate the next moves of their users to simultaneously help make their lives easier — and their app more vital.

Mike Schneider – also known as SchneiderMike – is the VP of Marketing at Skyhook. Skyhook is a big data company that specializes in mobile location, and their technology enables businesses to gain deep levels of insight to optimize mobile experiences.

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