Victoria Grüninger

Design Research - Hospitality & Travel

Rethinking the hotel guest experience.


PROJECT_ Independent research project // WHERE _ Parsons School of Design // WHEN_ August 2017 - May 2018 // SCOPE _ user experience, design research, insights analysis, prototyping. 


The research objective is to understand when and where is the traveler underserved in the journey to define a new value proposition. Deliverables consist of an insights analysis report, an observation video, an ideation map, a concept, wireframe and prototype. 


BAHO is a mobile app for hotel recommendations and reservations based on a traveler's social network. The idea is to facilitate the way people search for accommodation and experiences and create a travel space specific to the user by putting friends at the center of the process. It's a socially integrated travel purchase experience and a convenient booking process. Users can search, get inspired, get recommendations, make a reservation and find activities all in one place.

Research process

Secondary_ environmental scanning, competitive landscape, industry structure, tech trends analysis, analogy with the airline industry. Qualitative_ semi-structured interviews with industry experts and individual travelers. Quantitative_ survey design (Typeform, Qualtrics). 


Quality over Quantity_ Travelers perceive the search process as overwhelming and overcomplicated. It is a multi-session experience with many entry and exit points and multiple journeys. I was surprised to see how much time people can spend looking for the best option. The feedback I received from nearly every user is " to have everything in one place would be great"– it emphasizes that all the information and journey steps are in different places. They don't want to choose from many options, but want the experience of having made their own choice from a curated selection. 

Trust_The majority of users naturally turns to their friends and family first to get tips and recommendations. The social circle is an integral part of a traveler's purchase decision. This encouraged me to think about bringing back the social aspect into the process. 

Personal data_ Going through multiple platforms requires giving personal data several times, which people don't feel necessarily comfortable with. There’s considerable value in guest data. 

Wireframe & Prototype  

  • Search for travel with an experience in mind_ Search process

  • Remove ratings subjectivity_Comments

  • Value recommendations sharing_ Share, add, exchange of information

  • Places users have been meaning to try_Wish-list