Growing a vacation homes rental marketplace
In the last six months, our north star has been to increase MAUs into the Hopper Homes funnel. Leveraging insights from Hopper’s user base, we know our user persona is a young, budget-conscious traveler typically looking for last-minute deals. Still, there are many home booking services out there that Hopper is competing with. As part of the product team, I think at a high level about creative strategy and vision for the app – not just how it should look, but what should be built.
Hopper Homes is just under a year old and is still working on growing its inventory of vacation homes available to rent. It has a substantial volume of homes available for rent in Miami, so many of our recent efforts have focused on promoting the Miami market. But, if a user searches for a home in another market, the selection isn’t as strong, so we have to solve for limited inventory in our design.
And, like many product teams, we’re resource-strapped and have to prioritize and balance our load to execute priority initiatives, fix bugs, and work towards our north star.
Hopper has a design system in Figma that we leverage to increase efficiency and ensure visual continuity. My work is to think through how we can grow-hack the existing Hopper ecosystem to benefit Homes, figure out the UX we want to deliver, and identify opportunities to experiment and improve our UX/UI while utilizing an existing design system to deliver a consistent look and feel.
Hopper is also a very data-driven, hypothesis-focused, and experiment-driven product culture. We continuously review metrics in Amplitude and formulate hypotheses on how to move the needle on our key metrics. We also regularly audit our competitors in the travel booking space to stay on top of how they change their design patterns and glean insights from competitive research that inform our UX and UI.
In this time, we’ve worked on in-app cross-selling initiatives to take advantage of Travel Day Tuesday (a travel booking “holiday” over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend), scaled those designs to support Hopper Homes’ expansions into new markets, and made improvements to the Homes search funnel and marketplace. I’ve also designed user journeys for push notifications, developed email templates, and designed a web landing page for Hopper Homes.
Search Funnel Improvements
Based on competitive research, we noticed that our 3-step search funnel was out of sync with industry best practices. Other travel apps only require the user to indicate their location, and then the user refines their search parameters once search results have loaded. In this sprint, I led redesigning of our search funnel as well as the toolbar users see in their search results to eliminate pills that weren’t useful and instead use that pixel space to correlate with our search funnel improvements. I also reorganized the information heirarchy of our filters menu to reflect user research insights about what qualities of a home drive conversion.
Travel Day Tuesday
For Travel Day Tuesday, we implemented a campaign of cross-selling carousels and banners throughout the Hopper ecosystem to drive traffic and awareness to the Hopper Homes funnel.
If someone was watching or booking a flight to Miami using Hopper’s flight booking offerings, we know they likely need lodging once they get there; as such, we wanted to let them know that they could book a home in Miami and get a significant discount on their booking. Once the user booked a flight, we placed banners + cards in their trip confirmation to reinforce the Homes offering. Last, we would also send a push notification to this cohort of users to re-engage them.
If someone was searching for a hotel in Miami, they might be amenable to booking a home instead. We designed carousels that highlighted inventory in Miami for them to be aware of. Similarly, we hypothesized that if a user tapped back or out of the hotels booking checkout page, they might have second thoughts about booking a hotel and might be interested in a home instead.
We also launched a Homes landing page during this sprint, and I wrote all the copy and designed the assets on the landing page.
Marketplace UI improvements
As the Homes offerings expand, we have increasingly large amounts of competing information to prioritize on the homes listing page. As Homes now offers both entire homes and private rooms, I led a mini-redesign of our marketplace to indicate better if the user saw a private room or an entire home listing. This redesign improved search results and the information hierarchy on the listing detail page itself.
Hopper is in a growth stage right now, so I’m learning a lot about working with a fast-moving, agile product team. We rapidly produce multiple concepts and prototypes, focus on the data, kill experiments if they aren’t working, and move toward the next thing. I’ve learned when to apply pixel-perfect attention to detail, and when to make low-fi sketches and prototypes. I’m excited to iterate and improve the Homes UX and UI as it finds product-market fit!