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RESEARCH ON TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

The project explored opportunities to create a culture shift on current travel experience. Take design as a lead on encouraging people to be travelers instead of tourists, and then facilitate more cultural communication with environments and locals.

 

THE DIRECTION OF PROJECT EXECUTION

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Travel is the human behavior, there are diverse travel styles among individuals. The activities of traveling is not being constrained in any particular, closed process or system, people can easily personalize their travel journey. Therefore, the execution of this project would start from looking into individuals sector and then extend to system/ ecology sector.

RESEARCH PROCESS

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In this project, the research is divided into two phases. In first phase of research, aims to understand the context of travel, the meaning of engaging in travel and the spectrum of tourism industry. After a holistic comprehension of the subject, researchers are mainly doing experimental explorations based on the insights collected from the first stage. The aim was to insight the subject beyond existing experience. Through doing experimental activities, the researcher can discover more unexpected findings, and engage in innovative thinking. Furthermore, benchmarking also played a critical role in this project, which provided valuable information about business model, creativity, and value proposition of current travel services.


RESEARCH INSIGHTS

There are four categories of research insights:

I. Characteristics of Travel experience

II. Travel experience and memory

III. Interactions of travel

IV. Others

 

INSIGHT I. Characteristics of Travel experience

Non-directivity of travel journey

User experience of traveling is out of spatial and temporal control, the activities travelers engage in, the situations in which they find themselves, when they occur all these questions are uncertain, for instance, we probably would change our destinations because we just met a new friends during the trip.

ROLE OF DIGITAL DEVICES IN TRAVEL EXPERIENCE is INTERVENTION

Travel experience is based on the physical interaction with a foreign environment. When people use their mobile devices, there is a pause in their travel experience since these devices separate them from physical engagement with their environment.

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INSIGHT II. Travel experience and memory

DEFINITION OF IN-DEPTH TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

CULTURAL COMMUNICATION

The depth of travel experience is quite difficult to measure objectively, but it is closely related to how travelers communicate with local culture. There are four levels: Knowing, Seeing, Understanding, and Comprehending.

- Knowing: Simply having some superficial impression of the culture

- Seeing: Just experiencing the culture by looking.

- Understanding: Understanding the features of the culture

- Comprehending: Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the cultural context, even becoming immersed in it.

SELF REFLECTION

People have different reactions when encountering cultural difference, depending on their different personalities. This difference can make people reflect on their own identity, life, or even philosophy. Through self-reflection, we can deepen our travel experience and make it more impressive and meaningful- the core value of in-depth travel experience.

 

THE FEELING FROM SENSES

The unfamiliar environment activates our sensations

From the unforgettable travel stories interviewees shared, they spent more time on describing their feeling, such as the feeling of fresh wind blowing on their faces, the music they heard on the street, and the warm of sunshine, etc. This indicate, there is a strong connection between our memory and the sensations from our hearing, touching and smelling.

something unexpected makes travel journey to be unforgettable

There is a gap between travel information and real engagement, However, because of this gap, there is always some unexpected happening during our travels and these kinds of incidents, and moments are usually the things people remember after their trip. 

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INSIGHT III. Interactions of travel

Local businesses help travelers explore local places

Locals usually give travelers some travel advice based on their living experience. Some people choose to write down their advice on paper, and give it to travelers to help them explore the real features of their city. Travelers not only receive a unique travel guide but also are appreciate their notes and the kindness of strangers. 

Local businesses help travelers explore local places 

Local businesses usually are a miniature of local culture. Travelers would visit some shops with local cultural characteristics, and some of them would ask the shop keepers to recommend places worth visiting. The people who own local business always have some knowledge and ideas /opinions of their local culture.This knowledge can help travelers more fully appreciate the local lifestyle and visit the places with local colour.

sounds link to atmosphere, recording links to our attention of conscious

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1. From the sensual aspect, we can tell that sounds contribute to the atmosphere. The sounds from travelers' journey records remind them how the places felt like at a particular moment. Furthermore, the feeling is picked up by recorders, can also make other listeners image the atmosphere of the places their friends/others have been.

2. In the course of recording sounds, people need to keep silent to allow microphones to collect the pure sounds from the environment. When people stay silent and calm they tend to focus on their sense of hearing, which helps them to immerse themselves into the atmosphere of their environment.

TAKING PICTURES BY FILM CAMERA: slow down, immerse, and then take that moment

Taking pictures by a traditional film camera takes time. It entails spending a longer time on looking and focusing through the camera viewfinder and waiting for a good moment. The view from the camera viewfinder is a smaller scale of the scene, which helps people stay focused on what they are looking at without interference. 

There are 36 photographic films in each roll, which is a limited number. People cannot take as many photos as they can, the camera enable people to cherish more on each good moment. Compared to a digital camera, film camera this makes people take time - waiting for the best moment to record a treasurable image.

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INSIGHT IV. OTHER INSIGHT

SHARING MODEL BETWEEN AIRBNB & COUCHSURFING

 In the AirBnB case, the sharing starts with people who have the means to share accommodation, and travelers use this trendy on-line platforms to find these people. Doing this necessitates trusting these strangers who seem to be prepared to share. Furthermore, in a capitalist society, people are defensive, and more willing to trust others when there is some insurances involved. The money transaction establishes the trust relationship between householders with accommodation and tenants.  On the other hand, in the couch surfing case, travelers need to ask strangers for accommodation proactively and then wait for these strangers to meet their requirements. The agreement between householders and travelers lacks any foundation of trust, since we have no idea of why this person would like to share their spare space, and the work that involves.  Therefore, the key points of building up a feeling of trust are:  1. Enquire why people who are able to share would like to share  2. Explain people’s motivation for sharing.

In the AirBnB case, the sharing starts with people who have the means to share accommodation, and travelers use this trendy on-line platforms to find these people. Doing this necessitates trusting these strangers who seem to be prepared to share. Furthermore, in a capitalist society, people are defensive, and more willing to trust others when there is some insurances involved. The money transaction establishes the trust relationship between householders with accommodation and tenants.

On the other hand, in the couch surfing case, travelers need to ask strangers for accommodation proactively and then wait for these strangers to meet their requirements. The agreement between householders and travelers lacks any foundation of trust, since we have no idea of why this person would like to share their spare space, and the work that involves.

Therefore, the key points of building up a feeling of trust are:

1. Enquire why people who are able to share would like to share

2. Explain people’s motivation for sharing.

 


    VISUALISATION OF RESEARCH OUTCOME

    TRAVeller journey map

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    PLAN STAGE

    There are five quotes presented, representing different motivation for traveling, once people are motivated they need to take five steps : 1. Search and decide the place to visit 2. Book the flight ticket and accommodation 3. Plan the details of their trip, such as which attractions are on offer on different tours. 4. Packages available

    TRAVEL STAGE

    All activities are location-oriented, people always travel from one place to another place. There are three categories of places: attractions, accommodations and restaurant/ dining places. In each place, one can communicate with different kinds of local people. There are four things we would do continually In the course of travel: Express. Navigate. Record. Show off

    RECALL STAGE

    We would recall travel memories someday in some occasions. There are two categories of recalling: physical sharing and on-line reviewing. 

    Physical sharing: when family party, or during the dinner with friends.

    On-line reviewing:The visible touch points are the records we collected during the travel journey, such as photos, videos or souvenirs.

    STAKEHOLDERS MAP

      BEFORE TRAVEL   All stakeholders (inside blue circle) at this stage help people plan their trip. Before the travel journey begins, travelers would access different services in the planning of their trip, like AirBnB, Booking.com for searching accommodation, Skyscanner for booking a flight ticket, Tripadvisor for finding a good restaurant, etc.

    BEFORE TRAVEL

    All stakeholders (inside blue circle) at this stage help people plan their trip. Before the travel journey begins, travelers would access different services in the planning of their trip, like AirBnB, Booking.com for searching accommodation, Skyscanner for booking a flight ticket, Tripadvisor for finding a good restaurant, etc.

      DURING TRAVEL   During travel, travelers need to find their way round an unfamiliar environment, so that they would use a travel app, Google maps, guidebooks, etc., to guide them. Moreover, these services/ stakeholders provide information and then link travelers to local places, or local people. A sequence of these local factors ae important contributors to our travel experience.

    DURING TRAVEL

    During travel, travelers need to find their way round an unfamiliar environment, so that they would use a travel app, Google maps, guidebooks, etc., to guide them. Moreover, these services/ stakeholders provide information and then link travelers to local places, or local people. A sequence of these local factors ae important contributors to our travel experience.

    PERSONA

     ‘Jay’ is the traveler on Travel stage, and persona ‘Dolores’ is on Plan stage. Jay is a man who loves travel, but lacks confidence to interact with locals. This persona is corresponding to ‘how to help people gain in-depth travel experience’.

    ‘Jay’ is the traveler on Travel stage, and persona ‘Dolores’ is on Plan stage. Jay is a man who loves travel, but lacks confidence to interact with locals. This persona is corresponding to ‘how to help people gain in-depth travel experience’.

     Dolores is a woman who never travels alone.This persona reflects one of project aims: how to help people try different travel styles. As part of persona defining, I brought these two persona to the co-design workshop, and the participators were required to come up with some ideas to solve their problem in the travel journey.

    Dolores is a woman who never travels alone.This persona reflects one of project aims: how to help people try different travel styles. As part of persona defining, I brought these two persona to the co-design workshop, and the participators were required to come up with some ideas to solve their problem in the travel journey.


    CO-DESIGN WORKSHOP

    Aim of workshop

    1. Rationalisation: Refine and iterate the insights I collected from field research 
    2. Ideation: Ideate with end users and gain insights from their thinking
    3. Objectification: Make design process to be objective before formal ideation session.

    Agenda of workshop

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    THE GAINS FROM THE WORKSHOPS

    1. The connection between on-line and off-line service is extremely important in terms of user experience.
    2. Sound can be a strong tool to innovate the process of current travel planning, it can transform our cognition toward the places we know.
    3. Travel experience cannot be designed, but can be facilitated.
    4. The incentives of traveling alone cannot be easily activated. Instead of changing current user behaviours or experience, being a solo-travelers depends on the level of motivation or cultural background so changes in behaviour is very difficult to achieve.
    5. Service cannot be used as a strong control to restrict travelers’ journeys because it would extinguish the fun of traveling. The service should allow space for travelers to freely develop their own particular journey.
    6. In the short term, the design intervention should start from travelers' travel stage instead of the planning stage. Promoting the travel experience of one group of travelers can be the incentive for trying another travel style for another groups of travelers.

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