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Making a Virtual Meeting Spot

Reading time: ~ 3 minutes

On the heels of the Contiki community we launched earlier this year, we recently helped to launch a similar community page, specific to booked passengers – The Tour MeetUp. While the community is a place to meet other Contiki members and share information, the MeetUp is the central meeting spot for fellow passengers before and after a tour. This gives passengers the opportunity to “meet”, strike up conversations, and form relationships before a tour. And the MeetUp is always open, so mates can share information during a tour (like photos), and continue talking and sharing post tour, all within the privacy of their own space.

The goal

Early in our initial strategy phase, we brainstormed all the possibilities. We wanted to create a place that was exclusive for each tour and also provide resources and information that a passenger would want to have before a trip. In strategy meetings we ran through a list of all the things you might like to know before: What’s the weather like? What should I expect this time of year? Who’s going on this optional side trip? When are other tour mates arriving? Is anyone leaving a day after? Where will everyone be from? And we talked about things you might like to do after: share photos of that night in Milan, keep in touch with the friends you met, maybe plan another trip?

Our goal was to think about the passenger, and provide the tools (and ease of mind) they might want, to ensure they have the best trip during and a safe place to store memories after.

Design Strategy

After we brainstormed the possibilities, we worked with Contiki to determine the priorities and decided to focus our efforts on two main pages
1. The activity feed- or the main page of the MeetUp where comments and photos could be posted
2. The gallery – where all of their uploaded photos would be stored.

A focus on visual

Wireframing was slightly easier with this project, only because we didn’t need to recreate the wheel; the structure of the page was largely the same as the community. The trick was to create something that felt exclusive, but utilize patterns that already existed – which would make it familiar to the user (and keep implementation costs down). Due to the nature of the page, the majority of the content would be user generated, so it was just about finding the right theme.

Here was one of our first design (this was when it was originally called Tour Meeting Room)

A focus on the people

The other big difference between the community and the MeetUp was that we wanted to focus more on making it easy for people to learn about each other and communicate in the MeetUp. For example, the Meet Your Mates page is effectively similar to the interaction of who’s following you on the community, but it provides a little more detail.

The same focus on people came forward in the flexibility and control with how you can be notified when something happens in the MeetUp; there’s an assumption that if a tour mate responds to your post or joins the MeetUp, you will want to be notified – whereas if someone you follow in the community posts something on their feed, it may not warrant a notification.

A focus on getting the word out

Contiki passengers were used to using different methods to find out who’s on their trip.

And breaking old habits can be hard. So another initiative was to make sure the word got out. This meant creating prompts after booking, creating promos to appear in strategic places and providing as many ways to get to the MeetUp as possible:

A promo in the discussions

A promo IN the Meet Ups forum (the old area where passengers used to find each other)

Once you add your booked trip to your profile, you can see your MeetUp from any of your community pages (and a notice if you haven’t joined yet).

It’s launched!

With all the pieces in order and the development complete, we launched the MeetUps in early April. To see it in action, you have to actually book a tour; with over 250 tours to choose from, what are you waiting for? However, if going Contiki is not in the cards for you, you can learn more about Tour MeetUps here: Contiki MeetUps

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