The client for this year’s event was the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC (WTA), with the challenge focusing on addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the adventure tourism industry.
How can/might the Wilderness Tourism Association pivot seasonal wilderness tourism to local adventure grazers?
Service Design Thinking Process
As the only designer in the team, I proposed the Service Design Thinking process by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider to create a structure in our research, and sustainable solutions with optimal experiences for both customers and WTA's member providers.
The problem brought by the WTA was relevant to the current situation, in which businesses struggled to survive during the lockdown, in particular the tourism industry. The lockdown prevents visitors to have international flights and local tourists are advised not to leave their house to avoid crowdedness and virus spreading. There was also limited government funding for the tourism industry.
Empathizing with Local Tourism Business Owners
Based on our findings, it’s clear that the focus should be on how to deliver the expectations of users rather than wage a price war to create sustainable interest in WTA members. Organizations should focus on creating long term value and building consumer loyalty
Most WTA members have already been hard hit and impacted financially due to COVID-19 therefore competing on pricing or asking for discounts would be a difficult ask of organizations
Based on our surveys and interviews, it quickly became apparent that users preferred unique and deeply informed experiences over lower prices.
LOHAS Customer Segmentation
We decided to choose psychographic segmentation, Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) because this is a market segment that categorizes people by their desires to act with health and sustainability in front of mind. They are the most likely to recover faster because they are less price-sensitive than other groups. This group of consumers are naturally drawn to wilderness tourism because of their “green” and sustainable living.
Reframing Problem Statement
How can/might the Wilderness Tourism Association pivot seasonal wilderness tourism to local LOHAS?
After reframing the problem statement, I looked for different applications that LOHAS users often use for inspiration, such as Airbnb, Yelp, Calm, etc. This allowed me to leverage existing parts of WTA’s current website for my design and integrate them into my microsite. Doing this was more feasible and discoverable than creating an app from scratch. I aspired for a more familiar and consistent design concept.
Identify Key Stakeholders
As part of maturing our solution to WTA, we conducted stakeholder mapping to gain an in-depth understanding of key personas, and how they relate to
Consumer-centric design principles
Convenient & Accessible
Available on all devices (phone, tablet, computer). Quiz will personalize answers based on budget, travel accommodations
Community of like-minded LOHAS adventures. Respectful of environment and Indigenous culture
Relevant to all age-demographics within LOHAS. Translate pages for different languages
Last but not least, we also interviewed different business owners to understand their needs and pain points.
Operationally Efficient Design Principles
QR Codes are a low-cost implementation plan. To earn discounts, users must first spend money.
Enhance customer engagement. Solution can be implemented before May, start of peak tourism season
Timely & Future-oriented
Provide immediate & long-term aid to WTA members. Leveraging consumer trends
Assess Design Goals
Before finalizing my design concept, I set out goals that my solution could address based on my team’s research and process thus far:
When designing the high-fidelity mockup, I focused on the rewarding experience and recommendation page, which are customized based on their preferences. I figured that the visual look shouldn’t be too different or unique, so tourists from the older age range wouldn't find it complicated to navigate the site.
Tourists are recommended to create an account and register to the WTA. We want to build a list of loyal customers, to which the WTA and its members can promote their businesses and events faster. When users register to the account, they have a chance to enter for a bi-weekly lucky draw. This helps tourists feel engaged to stay within the site and look forward to using their rewards for their trips.
When tourists create their accounts, they are prompted to answer questions regarding their outdoor activities preferences. By answering these questions, users can see different locations where tourists can perform their favourite activities. Since LOHAS people are about being a community, tourists are asked to write down and share their experience with their community after their trip.
💬 After thought
Communicate with different stakeholders and the art of co-creation
Given more time, I would learn more about the members for more accurate results in searching for matched locations based on users’ preferences, with the ultimate goal of redeeming their Loyalty Leafs. I believe additional consideration could be made regarding how LOHAS users feel like a part of a community.
🌈 Thanks for taking the time to read this case study. Special thanks to Ekam, Tommy, Joshua and our coach Jerry for their time and contribution during the deliberation process.