CoLab PM Bootcamp Concludes
Today marked the end of the CoLab PM Sprint—a bootcamp starting with a problem space, moving into research, and defining MVP features within a spec sheet and presentation. Admittedly, it was difficult juggling this amidst finals, spring break travels, and new classes starting up, but I'm pretty proud of the work put into it in such a short amount of time. The core idea is one I really wish existed.
Below is my final portfolio submission, and I was invited to present to the full cohort and a group of mentors.
SPRINT - Sojourn
Discover travel partners through matching itineraries, budgets, and preferences.
Link to Final Spec Document:
PM: Adam Valeiras
How might we help solo travelers and digital nomads more seamlessly meet like-minded travelers to make friends, share experiences, and save money?
Problem Background / Research Insights
The goal of Sojourn is to improve the traveling experience. After conducting multiple in-depth research interviews, I learned that solo and small group travelers’ core desire is to be able to have independence while traveling while still having the opportunity to make new friends.
In the past, my participants used inefficient, unintentional platforms like dating apps and HostelWorld to make new friends while abroad. Each of these cater to specific user-types: single people already on dating apps, and hostel-users who tend to be younger and willing to sacrifice sleep while on vacation. They do not help travelers who hope to make friends, plan experiences, and save money in advance of traveling, not centered around dating or partying.
This gap in resources will continue to be felt: from December 2020 to April 2022, the search term “solo travel” increased by 267% and the number of digital nomads grew by 42%. Based on my research interviews, this rapidly growing segment will continue to feel the urge to solo travel for independence and flexibility, while also feeling longing to meet up with other travelers without needing to use a dating app or party-centric resource.
Many of the other platforms which offer travel accommodations either lack a connecting component (TripAdvisor), feel outdated or evoke safety concerns (Meetup, Couch Surfer), or are more expensive and require committing to a long trip with a group (digital travel agencies like G Adventures). The closest offering is GAFFL, which helps travelers meet one another for activities, but does not leverage a matching system, which means users must sift through potential travel buddies manually.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the interviews conducted with members of my target segment, I knew I wanted to offer a solution that would make more seamless and proactive the act of meeting others while solo traveling. Each traveler is a unique individual, so Sojourn offers flexibility in how and when travelers interact, make plans, and eventually meet up. This means giving users the ability to customize their plans with multiple stops, wishlists, travel preferences, and even itinerary gaps—a lot of travelers like staying flexible when exploring a new country with friends.
Here are some rough mockups of what the app could look like:
In the future, I think safety will be a key area to address, including user verification and international customer support. Many interview subjects expressed hesitation around committing to meetups without a thorough vet of their travel matches.
I found the CoLab experience to be an incredible reinforcement of my MBA curriculum—applying marketing insights, research tools, consumer studies, and competitive analysis. The CoLab Sprint was fast-paced, challenging, fun, and required consistent interaction with other aspiring PMs. I think my biggest learning was in thinking about an MVP as truly the minimal of viable products, which is sometimes easy to stray beyond as we grow eager and receive feedback from many parties.