When we finally made it to Santorini in early September, the sun disappeared, the winds arrived, and the crowds of travelers vanished. Everybody else went back to work. Our inboxes started to fill up with job opportunities and tempting project briefs. The world was moving on without us. We felt like we were skipping school.
The primary goal of our travels was to research, experience, and document different service design business models for a few potential projects back in the US. Eight weeks of island hopping in Greece had provided plenty of input. The Greeks live well during the summer on those islands. We documented the touch points of each accommodation that we stayed in. We also created a hierarchy of traveler needs and mapped it to each location that we visited. Not surprisingly, many of our key insights about both accommodations and places came from other people — fellow travelers, business owners, and local characters all spoke openly about their pain and satisfaction points on each of the islands.
In Umbria and Tuscany, we selected a few business models that overlapped with our projects back in the US. Every few days, we talked in depth about our own pain and satisfaction points with these businesses and organized our notes around consistent themes. We also started to identify consumer travel products that were lacking in the technology marketplace. We brainstormed new products to solve these problems, and ran our ideas through a a technical and business feasibility model based on tools from Stone+Yamashita and IDEO.
So far, our ‘post-graduate’ studies have given us a much more informed perspective on hospitality and service design. It’s certainly given me a few travel product ideas.