Looking Ahead

Last weekend was quite a momentous one for the Travelindicator crew. It was the first time that the two co-founders (Nik and Jaap) of Travelindicator actually met up in person.

Of course we have had our fair share of Skype sessions in addition to being in almost daily contact as we worked on the project, but we felt the time was right to bring our Singapore-based and Germany-based founders together for a weekend of brainstorming in sunny Singapore.

We concluded that in order to get the message of Travelindicator across better, going forward we will focus on 3 key themes: clarity, simplification and social. Here's what we talked about in more detail. 

Recap: what is Travelindicator?

First, we spent a few moments brainstorming about summing up Travelindicator as succinctly as we could:

  • Keywords: Travel. Social. Discovery. Explore.
  • Tag: Travelindicator: Explore further.
  • Story: Travelindicator is a destination discovery tool that helps you discover and explore your world

Clarity

Nik and I have always felt that there is a very natural location for Travelindicator on the travel services spectrum.

You have your booking websites that you use to arrange your flights and hotels, and you have your Lonely Planets, Rick Steves and Rough Guides for getting in-depth information for destinations. What does not exist however, outside of Travelindicator, are services that let you discover new places.

Sure enough you can find plenty of "top 10" lists once you start Googling, but a service that actually really maps the travel profile (location, themes, weather, cost) of hundreds if not thousands of destinations, and lets you search through them? We have not come across any good ones, and that's why have built one.

What will we do differently? Expect more emphasis on the core idea of Travelindicator ("a destination discovery tool that helps you discover and explore your world") going forward.

Simplification

As part of clarifying our product and explaining where we sit on the travel spectrum, we also realised we are going to have to get rid of some clutter. Feedback we received from users once they started browsing a destination page was often along the lines of "you should really add more information on X or review more attractions for this city", etc.

But that is not the point of Travelindicator, the point is that we just made you aware of the existence of that city! Now you can save it to your must-see, should-see or might-see list, or even create an itinerary. And then keep browsing.

What will we do differently? We will work on streamlining our interface and simplifying the website, rather than adding more and more complex features as we go along. Less is more.

Social

One area where we will keep innovating and pushing is social. I realise that for many startups social is added as a gimmick, or as a must-have in order to build a user base and so on. 

We are convinced that Travelindicator is different. We started adding basic social features this year which allow users to message each other, share and publish itineraries, recommend places to each other and so on.

We envision a future for Travelindicator where entire families or groups of friends are browsing together to discover destinations and build itineraries for their next trips.

What will we do differently? There will be increased focus on the social aspects of Travelindicator. Not as a gimmick, but because it will make planning your trip that much easier.

Travelindicator Becomes Social

Travelindicator was never meant to be an isolated and static website. Right from the start we planned to be a social platform for travelers to connect and discover new destinations. It just took us a little while to get there!

Allow us to introduce to you Travelindicator's new messaging, itinerary publishing and user profile system, which will make the whole Travelindicator user experience even better.

User profiles

We have added user profiles (such as the one below) that display basic information about all of our users. It shows you which places they have saved, what itineraries they have created and which other Travelindicator users have liked their account.

Travelindicator profile

A like may happen if you know a person (let's say if it's your brother, wife or a good friend's account) or if you feel that a user is creating some awesome itineraries and you want to keep track of their latest moves.

You will come across links to user profiles all over the place, for instance when a user leaves a review on a destination or when a user has saved or included a place in one of their itineraries.

The most fun part about user profiles is that we use all of your stored destinations to build a profile that tells you what kind of traveler you are. Whether you for instance are a family person, an adventurer, a thrill seeker and so on! 

Travelindicator user profilesTravelindicator user profiles

Itineraries

At Travelindicator you could always store itineraries, but now we have added the possibility to publish them. What this means is that you can build your personal holiday program ("Summer holiday 2015" or "Japan trip January 2016"), find destinations you want to check out and store them to the itinerary, and finally publish them.

Upon publishing they get a link (such as the one below) and you can share them with your friends, colleagues, parents, or whoever... You can add some comments to it to give them further pointers. Pretty neat, right?

Travelindicator itineraries

Messaging

Finally, we felt that a site can't truly be social without letting our users communicate with each other. Found that person who seems to like all the same places in Korea as you do? Reach out to him and see if he has any tips for you. Or just tell your friends about those shiny new destinations you just came across!

MessagingMessagingMessaging