I’ve always been an intuition-driven person who will not trust her gut until the data confirms it. I guess they call that the scientific method (or, less kindly, insecurity). Since we started this travelabulous journey, I’ve been obsessed with finding metrics that would back up what we’ve felt in our hearts: travel planning today is broken, and it’s frustrating the shit out of people, but they grit their teeth and make it happen. And why not – traveling is a rewarding, mind-expanding, learn-about-yourself-ing activity that gets you out of your routine, resets, and relaxes you.

Enter primary research. To ascertain that we aren’t entirely off our rockers, we have been speaking with people at events, presentations, New Year’s Eve parties, coffee shops and restaurants. We’ve asked people, asked them to ask their kids, ask their wives, ask around. Here are two important things we’ve learned:

  1. There are people who literally do not travel because trip planning is so frustrating. A woman presenting a kick-ass sales strategy told us that she has been postponing her trip to Granada for over a year because she is dreading the amount of planning that would be required. A colleague in GrindSpaceXL mentioned that the trip he had been planning with his friends, their wives, and children fell apart because they couldn’t find a viable option to satisfy everyone. The timeframe was non-negotiable, and, in the end, the husbands were left in the cold of Ottawa, while the wives gave up and took the kids on a lowest-common-denominator last-minute pre-packaged vacation. In a surprise of all surprises, my father said that he finds travel planning so difficult, that he never even looks at anything other than all-inclusive vacations. I thought it was because he wasn’t interested!
  2. The only metric that matters is making stuff that matters. How did I arrive at this tautology?
    • Start with why: figure out what problems you want to solve.
    • Ask if anyone cares: Ash Maurya, creator of the Running Lean framework, urges us to design and run problem interviews.
    • Repeat until it matters.

Now, to put my money where my mouth is: we’ve created a survey to understand the level of frustration that people have with travel planning today. If you have 5 minutes to spare, fill it out, and if you enjoy it (I know, high bar), pass it along to your family and friends. Your help is absolutely crucial for us to build something that matters.

P.S.: In my search for metrics, I’ve come across a bunch of resources that speak to making stuff that matters. Lean Startup talks about finding problem/solution fit; Running Lean (warning: auto-play video) suggests some methods for measuring whether you’ve got it. This is a step before product-market fit, and the step in which you will pivot the most and the hardest. I hope you spend enough time here that your first MVP (minimum viable product) is truly outside-in. That said, you are unlikely to ever be completely sure, so define what problem/solution fit means to you (e.g., percentage of people rating your problems “must-have”), get there, then start building.