TERRA: personalized travel
MOBILE UI & UX / BRAND IDENTITY / MARKET RESEARCH
For the Summer of 2016, I was a Mobile UI/UX Intern for Terra, a San Francisco startup incubated in a larger digital media company called PennyPop. Terra is a travel application company that seeks to expose the millennial generation to the advantages, benefits, and expertise of booking trips through travel agents. I managed the design of its mobile application, developing the overall flow and visual experience for users specifically for the onboarding and trip booking process.
With access to travel planning through websites like Expedia, Priceline, and Travelocity, the millennial generation has never booked trips through travel agents. While these sites have marketed effectively by branding themselves as having "the lowest price possible," their guarantee is a little more complicated.
When you book a trip, it might seem that there is a plethora of travel websites to compare prices against. The truth is, you're probably looking at a website that's operated by Expedia or Priceline. Through aggressive acquisitions, the two companies have gained power in determining hotel, travel package, and airline rates themselves. They can offer the "lowest price" and undercut rates quoted directly from hotels and airlines because should these hotels and airlines not comply with their pricing model and list lower prices on their own websites, Expedia and Priceline will delete all their listings from the sites they own. Since such a high volume of bookings now come in through Expedia and Priceline-owned sites, hotels and airlines don't want to risk their relationship with the online travel powerhouses.
Ultimately, Expedia and Priceline negatively affect both consumer and supplier. If a hotel wants to list a last-minute low price on Expedia and a traveler booking last-minute plans would happily pay that rate, it's most likely a lose-lose-win situation. The hotel loses because although they were willing to book the guest at a lower rate, they were not allowed to publish it due to Expedia's rules and hold an empty room. The guest loses because the "lowest rate possible" is still too high to warrant a last-minute vacation with little planning. Expedia wins because the guest continues to believe Expedia will always have the lowest price, so they'll continue to book through them in the future.
Terra wants to introduce the millennial generation to the value of using travel agents by integrating their services and offerings into the world of high tech. By bridging this generational gap through a, the company seeks to offer a more streamlined process of booking travel that allows suppliers to thrive under their own strategy and consumers to make the most out of their trip budget.
Given the ubiquitous presence of apps, the expectations for the performance and value of mobile applications has only gone up for millennials, its most critical and demanding users. In order to reach this generation in the first place, Terra has updated the concept of a travel agent through an app where users can access simple and beautifully designed trip itineraries, comprehensive hotel and car rental quotes, and personalized trip advice all with just a few taps.