Would such an application be good business? Do people
have this problem? We will figure out in the study


Cases

Hypothesis verification for the application for finding fellow travelers

We are approached not only to promote an existing business. One of the key competencies of our agency is to suggest, even at the idea stage, whether there are prospects for this or that model or it is better not to invest in a non-working hypothesis in advance.

No matter how hard it is to realize, 9 out of 10 startups die. We try to make sure that you do not fall into this sad statistic.

Task

Verify the idea that people have a problem finding travel companions and an application with this functionality will be in demand.

Business model building

As part of similar tasks, we usually dive deeper into the possible business than just marketing. For example, in this case, we started by building a business model using the Osterwalder framework. This will help us understand whether this business is possible in principle even before starting the study. Since the client wanted to get exactly the business, and not a socially useful product without profit.
From this table, there are two things that we, among other things, will need to confirm or refute during the research process:

1. Is it such a big problem that people are willing to pay to solve it? Are there any competitors already providing the service on a paid subscription or one-time payment model?
2. Is it possible to gain enough users in the short term to pay off the project by displaying ads?

This canvas allows you to systematize the business model and understand under what circumstances it will be viable. We will not consider how to fill it out here, this is a topic for a separate article.

Demand Analysis


To begin with, we analyzed requests in Google on the topic of finding fellow travelers in the English-speaking and Russian-speaking segments. The number of these requests shows how much a particular problem is in demand and whether people are looking for a solution to it.

It is important to understand that in some niches people may not be aware of the possible solutions to the problem, so it is important to analyze not only the number of search requests for certain applications or sites, but also to see how people are already solving this problem and whether it exists on the right scale.

It often happens that a client with burning eyes voices a solution to a problem and wants to make
a product based on it, but research shows that this problem exists in a very narrow segment of consumers or is already being solved in other, more logical, ways that this person did not even suspect .

Here we will show several screenshots showing the number of requests and their structure. In fact, there are many more of them.
During the analysis of semantics, the following conclusions were made:
1. English-language requests are mainly focused on the general topic of searching for a fellow traveler (most of the high-frequency requests).

For example, travel friend, trip buddy. But also quite popular (medium-frequency requests) are:

— travel with a work companion
— division by gender (mainly requests regarding the search for female fellow travelers). For example, travel companion female;
— for the elderly. For example, companions to travel with seniors;
— requests related to travel destinations (places, cities, countries, regions) and occupation (e.g. golf companions, hiking companions).

Why is this needed? In addition to a general understanding of the volume and level of demand formation, if we decide to create a service, we will know what page structure in terms of SEO is better to do. In this case, for example, it is important to give the opportunity to filter possible fellow travelers according to their interests: for golf, for hiking in the mountains, for skiing, etc.

2. Russian-language requests
are more focused on travel directions (places, cities, countries, regions) and specifically on travel related to recreation (sea, tours).

Requests related to destinations in cities often make sense to find a travel companion to save on travel.

3. The total number of requests is quite small for such a large niche. This suggests that the problem is not very common or people solve it differently (this will be found out during the interview).

Similar Services Analysis


During the analysis of competitors, it was important to find the answer to the following questions:

  • Are there similar services?
  • Are they recognizable enough among the target audience?
  • How long have they been on the market and what is their traffic volume? This will allow us to initially evaluate the advertising ROI model.
  • What traffic acquisition channels do they use and how effectively?
  • Find interesting insights to apply them directly to your service or improve them - benchmarking
    In total, 13 competitors were analyzed in the English-speaking and Russian-speaking space
We did a detailed analysis for each site.
Let's show it in part using the example of Yourtravelmates

1. General website audit from the user's point of view. It is conducted in order to understand how much a competitor invests in the product itself. This gives some idea of the niche entry threshold, and also helps you find insights that products before you have already found.
2. Next, look at the site's history. This helps to understand how long a particular project has been on the market. And also to understand his path. For example, competitors could test certain hypotheses and if they did not accept them, then it is not worth stepping on the same rake.
This is how Yourtravelmates looked in 2013. The guys have been on the market for about 8 years, but despite this they have only 41,000 organic traffic per month.

This allows you to roughly estimate the amount of investment and the possible payback of advertising.

Traffic structure

Basically, the site is ranked by general requests related to travel.

Also, most of its semantics are occupied by requests for specific people who create their profiles on the site, for example, famous travel bloggers.

This is just an example of insight that could be used to promote our service. Detailed semantics at the link: Semantics link

General conclutions from competitor analysis:

  • This niche is well developed in the English-speaking segment, but the audience is still very small for such a wide niche
  • There are no Ukrainian sites
  • Russian-language sites are very poorly developed, despite the fact that they were created several years ago

Audience survey


In the process of analyzing competitors, it was important to find the answer to the following questions:
  • Are there similar services?
  • Are they recognizable enough among the target audience?
  • How long have they been on the market and how much traffic do they have? This will allow us to

Initially, in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 people with different interests, incomes, and marital status.

Purpose:
to identify hypotheses that will be further confirmed or refuted using a quantitative survey.

What questions were asked

1. Demographic characteristics (gender, age, marital status)
2. How many times a year do you travel on average
3. Who are you traveling with?
4. How do you travel
5. How do you plan your trip
6. What types of recreation do you prefer
7. Are there situations when there is no one to go on a trip with?

What do you do in these cases?
8. Other questions were asked depending on the context during the interview.

    What insights revealed

    What insights revealed

    1. Those who go on vacation several times a year do it only with friends or family, because each trip is valuable enough to take risks and spend it with strangers.

    2. Those who go on vacation several times a year do not have problems with whom to go on a trip, because even in a limited circle of family / friends / colleagues, you can find several people for this purpose.

    3. Problems with finding fellow travelers begin for people without a family with a travel frequency
    of 5 trips a year.
    In this case, the circle of acquaintances is no longer able to support the respondent's desire.

    4. The problem with travel is also experienced by followers of extreme tourism.
    For example, it is difficult to find fellow travelers from the circle of acquaintances for hiking up or climbing Anapurna. But in this case, communities of interest or author's tours begin to turn on. For example,
    a climbing club in Odessa.

    A quantitative study was conducted
    to confirm these hypotheses

    100 people were interviewed from a random sample. Below we present answers to some of the most important questions.

    Further, based on the in-depth interview hypothesis, we assumed that those who travel more than 5 times a year have problems finding fellow travelers. Let's look at the statistics for this segment only.
    Are there situations when there is an opportunity to make a trip, but you have no one with you (for example, the dates or opportunities of friends do not match)?

    Indeed, the proportion of people experiencing problems with fellow travelers is increasing
      If your answer to the previous question is yes, how do you solve this problem?

      The proportion of those who cancel trips has increased exponentially. This is logical, if you travel a lot, then the value of each individual trip for you drops and its cancellation will not be a big blow. The share of those who travel on their own or as part of an author's tour has remained approximately the same.

      Summary

      — Quite a large percentage of people (60%) who sometimes have trouble finding a travel companion.
      — People who travel up to 5 times a year do not experience such problems, because in their surrounding you can find a companion for such a small number of trips.
      — Potential target audience - these are people who travel more than 5 times a year or prefer extreme vacations, for which it is harder to find a travel companion.

      But what does such a target audience do?

      — Quite a large percentage of people (60%) who sometimes have trouble finding a travel companion.
      — People who travel up to 5 times a year do not experience such problems, because in their surrounding you can find a companion for such a small number of trips.
      — Potential target audience - these are people who travel more than 5 times a year or prefer extreme vacations, for which it is harder to find a travel companion.

      But what does such a target audience do?

      • Cancels or reschedules a trip because does not see this as a problem;
      • Finds an author's or group tour in the composition, which automatically has fellow travelers;
      • Travels alone
      • As part of extreme hobbies, they travel with clubmates
      Thus, our service will have to compete with all these analogues to solve the same problem. Despite the fact that in our method there are more risks:

      — it is not clear whether a person is psychologically suitable for you;
      — for women - this is a danger;
      — it is difficult to balance the budget according to the level of income

      As a result, the target audience is reduced to this segment: people who travel more than 5 times a year, who for some reason do not want to travel on their own, as part of a group or author's tour, and also psychologically ready to take the risk of traveling with a stranger

      A large number of competitors with a free model, without monetization. At the same time, the oldest Russian-language service does not have clients for renting advertising space.
      Too narrow segment of the possible audience, many possible risks and fears of the target audience, the presence of competitors who have not been able to become successful for several years, even with a good level of optimization. This all together negates the possible business model of having a similar application in this market segment. Perhaps another model of interaction with the target audience or another model of monetization could give the opposite result, but in this case the goal was to validate a specific hypothesis.

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