A mobile web app and notification system that curates unique hotel experiences
Deal Hunter was an experiment I developed in the Trivago Innovation Lab that aimed to explore new approaches for boosting organic traffic to trivago.com. The objectives were to reduce reliance on acquisition marketing and paid traffic while enhancing the value provided to travellers beyond the metasearch service.
My role and
I played a central role in the project, starting with assistance to the board of directors in selecting a key business challenge for the lab. My responsibilities encompassed framing the problem space, establishing the product vision and goals, conducting extensive research, leading the procurement process for innovation partners, and collaborating closely with Dentsu's ECD on design direction and creative direction.
Our challenge is to create a product and strategy that not only significantly increases the long-term organic traffic to trivago.com but also encourages travellers to embark on shorter trips more frequently, resulting in increased bookings for hotel nights. The solution must reduce trivago's reliance on paid marketing and SEO, creating a self-sustaining flywheel effect for increased website traffic and click-through rates, ultimately contributing to the reduction of marketing expenditures.
Marketing channels performance according to Trivago's ICPs: 'Flexible Deal Hunter' offered the biggest impact opportunity
Our hypothetical flywheel outcome
Trivago spent 20% more than the industry's baseline on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and obtained 25% less penetration according to Digital Experience Analytics
We believe that we can create a flywheel effect for web traffic if we design a mechanism to inspire an increasing number of people to search for hotel accommodation more frequently.
We will know that to be true when marketing expenditure remains constant while traffic growth to trivago.com is sustained over time.
Roadmap & WoW
We overdelivered the project as a final product within the same timeframe
Ways of working, method, and rationale
I employed a customised 'Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver' framework to suit our 12-week timeframe for release and testing. The collaborative cross-functional approach, involving the Lab, Dentsu, and 3rd party contractors, enabled a continuous flow of information and data-informed decisions. The rituals and cadence that I implemented also helped maintain velocity throughout the process.
Picking our Ideal Customer Profile
Using circumstance-based segmentation, I identified our potential target audience by reviewing studies from various Trivago verticals, collecting third-party reports, and analysing trend forecasting articles and macro-trends. This approach allowed me to define the 'Flexible Deal Hunter' profile, and two sub-categories: 'secure planners' and 'mind travellers,' which proved crucial during the ideation phase.
User journeys: framing pains and gains
I analysed UX and marketing documentation to identify common patterns, pain points, goals, and frames of mind in the user journey. This served as a foundation for improving the overall experience.
I synthesised a user journey model based on the identified patterns and aligned it with the three domains outlined in our strategy (Growth Hacking, Digital Tools, and Content Strategies). This approach helped prioritise areas of opportunity, creating a value-based experience that aligned with users' goals and jobs-to-be-done.
Choosing the right domain to operate
I also conducted desk research to identify areas of opportunity for sustained growth, which led to a focus on the 'Organic Growth' domain. Simultaneously, the engineering team explored various technology stacks within this domain. Using the space-saturation technique, I mapped out the organic growth marketing domain, extracted common themes, and identified key attributes to inform decisions and set success metrics.
1-Day design sprint
In a one-day workshop with cross-disciplinary participants, we refined the problem space, using techniques like space saturation, clustering, and HMW statements to expand possibilities while focusing on the business challenge.
Next, we ran Crazy 8s and generated numerous sketch ideas, leading to eight product concepts. The team further developed these concepts and, in the following sessions, evaluated them against strategy and business objectives, resulting in four final viable product ideas.
Revisiting the Problem Space
HMW statements and filtering
Crazy 8s - Keep / Build / Kill
1 Pager sketches