Travelling with Trek America
Trek America, a specialist in group travel for North America, asked Myplanet to redesign their online presence. They wanted to better target young, social, and international travellers, the core focus of their brand. As part of a broader ongoing partnership with TUI and Travelopia, Myplanet was eager to collaborate with Trek America.
Trek America asked Myplanet to deliver an engaging social and mobile experience that would match the simplicity, quality, and people-driven values of their brand and tours.
Because today’s youth traveller conducts extensive independent research online across a variety of social channels and device types, the redesign would need to emphasize social interaction among potential and past travellers, as well as simplify the online booking process. Above all, it would need to prioritize a seamless and consistent experience across each platform to boost online transactions.
Myplanet began by conducting both primary and secondary research to better understand the unique problems and contexts that Trek America consumers face. We undertook phone-based interviews with past and potential travellers, reviews of survey data, and a complete competitive-landscape analysis.
We quickly established two key insights: the youth travel industry has become increasingly saturated, and young travellers perform extensive research on their own before making a decision. In particular, we found that the Trek America target customer tends to distrust sponsored marketing tactics.
Instead, Trek America customers rely heavily on their social networks or trusted ambassadors to narrow down their choices for everything from the initial purchase of a tour, to packing advice before their trip. Armed with these insights, Myplanet was able to build an online experience that offered robust social interaction and stood out in the crowded youth-travel field—in just under 5 months.
Blueprints & Prototypes
With our initial discovery phase complete, the Myplanet team explored the interaction patterns, key functionality, and content of different page types in varying degrees of fidelity. These prototypes supported the planning of technical and design architectures, highlighted technical and business constraints, and built consensus among stakeholders.
After an exhaustive discovery phase, Myplanet came back with a responsive strategy that targets 3 main user objectives: Be Inspired, Be Educated, and Build a Community.
The new Trek America site incorporates a powerful search tool that can uncover any trip by sight or location, so that even those without a strong geographic understanding of the Americas can explore easily. We also implemented functionality that introduces trips based on experiences, and highlights socially-generated content for a more authentic experience.
Most of Trek America’s target demographic come from Europe and Oceania, making a trip to America a “once in a lifetime” experience. To bring a feeling of discovery to Trekkers from their first encounter with the site, the platform includes interactive maps and simple navigation. It also highlights editorial content over traditional banner advertising.
Thanks to their passionate fan base, community has always been a part of the Trek America DNA. To enable the growth of these communities, Myplanet introduced Trek Hubs. Trek Hubs use a vote-based strategy over the traditional forum format to empower conversations between travellers. With Trek Hubs, anyone can ask or answer a question, and find relevant content centralized in one location.
Be Inspired: Real People on the Road
Trek America wanted to highlight the authentic trip experience and go beyond typical aspirational photography. To achieve this, Myplanet built a site that lets Trekkers share their experiences on the road using their existing social accounts. Trekkers can simply hashtag a photo and see it appear in their private groups or public hubs.
Build Community: Upvote Discussions, Get Answers
The introduction of Trek Hubs empowered Trekkers to find answers to their questions quickly, without having to scroll through lengthy forum threads. Before they even start their trip, Trekkers can connect with the Trek America community and see what others are asking, upvote the best answers, and join the conversation with their own tips and tricks. Anybody can ask questions, anybody can answer.
Be Educated: Making Introductions Easy
For many Trekkers, the highlight of group travel is building lasting friendships with their travel companions. Recognizing the importance of these dynamics, Trek America wanted to bring that highlight to Trekkers earlier in their journey. To do this, Myplanet bolstered the private Trek groups, which allows booked Trekkers to meet and get to know other group members before their trips begin. They can start planning free time in different cities, offer advice, and anticipate a unique experience together!
“Working with Trek America was an amazing opportunity. It was clear that their staff wanted to take digital to the next level, and we were thrilled to be a part of that journey.”
Post launch, we are continually monitoring and testing the site with live data looking for opportunities to improve the Trek experience. With more qualitative and quantitative data, design and development will be iteratively improved over time.
Trek America is known for their dedication to the authentic road trip experience, with customers praising their expertise and personalized service. With an improved user experience built on Drupal, Myplanet has equipped Trek America to build enhanced content curation and empower communities with greater social integration. Trip planning can be shared with friends, content can be recommended based on interests, and hubs can facilitate meetups between past and future trekkers. The future is bright for America’s Travel Specialists!
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