I was really fortunate to have been invited back to Co.Lab for another cohort, this time returning as a Product Manager. At the same time, I received a freelance webflow travel blog client through a friend. I decided to combine both projects, bringing in external stakeholders into a bootcamp, leading a remote international team to reshape the founders vision into a more scalable product
The idea for No Fixed Addresses came about as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In many destinations, tourism supports whole economies, towns, and local families.
The goal of No Fixed Addresses is to promote locally owned hotels, hostels, and experiences in an effort to put money back into the pockets of small business owners. We believe that as travelers, we can play a pivotal role in repairing economies after the pandemic.
Let’s make sure the decisions we make while traveling aid in their recovery.
- Manage an international remote team of stakeholders on a shared vision
- Pivot the founder’s vision to a more scalable product with a wider reach
- Support local hostels and tour operators during the travel lulls of COVID
- Use digital collaboration tools like zoom, figjam, and mmhmm to manage the team
- Reshape initial idea into a social media presence with a travel blog
- Develop a new event-hosting platform for hostels and tour operators to reach a local audience
Travelers have ample options to choose from when booking a trip, however most of these booking solutions are focused on delivering larger, more established options for users. While this increases revenue for booking services, smaller, less established locations are left struggling.
While this problem is really large in scope, we’ve narrowed it down to focus on how hostels in particular have struggled amidst this economic downturn, and ways we can assist them in surviving until travel resumes at a larger capacity.
Through No Fixed Addresses, we hope to create a platform where travelers have a better option. A way to contribute to local economies and families while having the opportunity to connect with local people.
We know that we, like many others, are eager to pick up my passport again. When we do, we hope to do so in a way that supports those who have been impacted most by the pandemic, to do our part in repairing the world.
There are two main product components that we plan on including in No Fixed Addresses to help have a positive impact on local tourism economies.
First, we are creating a blog component built using Webflow CMS. Ultimately this product will be handed off to the No Fixed Addresses Product Owner, and her team of writers need to have an easy way to continue adding blog articles to this site for SEO.
Second, we are creating a way for hostels to host events in their community spaces. Our research has shown that some hostels have survived the year of no travel by shifting their target demographic from travelers to locals, hosting events like cooking classes, and re-outfitting their large community spaces into cafe’s or turning them into yoga studios. We are trying to take this solution that some hostels have implemented, and help bring it to more hostels, by creating a platform for hostels to host events in their spaces.
The leisure and hospitality sector includes not just global hotel chains, but local arts venues, recreation, restaurants, and bars. In 2017, small businesses (firms with fewer than 500 employees) comprised 99.5% of the sector, and 60.6% of employment within the sector.
Many of these firms have been forced to lay off most or all of their workers, and sometimes completely shut down. In May, 52.1% of small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector reported temporarily closing, and 35.2% reported a decrease in the number of paid employees.
Hostel Owner Personas
As a Hostel Owner whose booking rate has dropped significantly over the last year, and is currently at risk of losing my property and business, I want to find a way to bring people back to my hostel. Travelers won’t come stay overnight, however locals or anyone else in the area might attend cool events we host in our space.
- User creates an account on No Fixed Addresses, as a hostel
- User creates a new event at their hostel, a yoga class
- User submits this event to No Fixed Addresses
- Event Appears on No Fixed Addresses, for travelers to browse
As a digital nomad who lives in a tiny home (#tinyhousenation) and travels the country, I really enjoy attending cool social events where I get to meet diverse communities who are non judgemental of my uber hipster way of life.
- User hears about No Fixed Addresses because they vibe with the ethos of brand
- User creates an account on No Fixed Addresses, as a traveler
- User browses some super cool events, located at hostels
- User sees a yoga class hosted at a hostel one town over, and drives their tiny home to the area to attend the yoga class
End User Research Survey
- While people love exploring, and seeing sights, participating in experiences are a large part of the travel experience.
- Individuals have felt a covid rut from the lack of travel due to pandemic restrictions
- People travel with friends and family, and that informs the types of activities and experiences they partake in
- People plan things to do on a trip by using a search engine, typing in the name of a location, and a key phrase like: "Main attractions" or "What to do"
- The main social activities people did during quarantine included small get togethers for dinner, or snacks, outdoor exercise, and many people mentioned walking as a quarantine activity.
Opportunity Space and Discovery
Hostel Owners could capitalize on their event spaces during travel restrictions, helping keep their business afloat during the pandemic, however, they needed a better way to promote their events, and secure event attendees.
HOSTEL OWNER FlOW
EVENT ATTENDEE FLOW
Hi Fidelity Mockup
UX Heat Map testing
Event Platform Development
Travel Blog in Webflow
Although I identify as a "Design Guy", learning about the role of a Product Manager taught me a lot about juggling the needs of the product, with the capabilities of our team. I learned the importance of scaling down, and reducing the burden and workload of developers, as well as the best tools to manage a designer to developer handoff. I also just really enjoyed the space this product was tackling, travel, digital nomadism, and hostels present a really engrossing culture, and I loved diving in.