PoshPacker is a curated booking site for finding creative places to stay that are also affordable. We help travelers avoid the disappointment of ordinary accommodations and allow them to feel cool without spending a fortune. From POSHTELS to tree houses, boat hotels to posh camping, PoshPacker is for people who want the best of both worlds- a place to stay that’s unique, but also within a budget.
For hoteliers, PoshPacker is a marketing solution to differentiate themselves in the budget hospitality sector. We help hoteliers to reach and resonate with the elusive millennial market through our digital innovations including our geolocation Instagram photo technology, travel style & hotelier vibes tagging system, and our established online brand identity. More than 300 hotels and hostels apply to be featured on our platform each year, but only an average of 5% of them are approved. Each hotelier member is selected very carefully to cater to the needs of modern travelers searching for something creative and social. > Apply > Benefits (new explanatory webpages for hoteliers designed by Tania Cruz)
Travelers in our community are invited to nominate places they have stayed at and feel should be part of our exclusive PoshPacker Pick selection.
We thought that with today’s technology, travelers should be able to easily find the best budget places to stay all around the world.
In October 2015, the Poshpacker team was selected for the Techstars Metro and R/GA program in Berlin. Our founding team raised a seed round from Techstars, Metro, and R/GA. During the program we improved our brand identity with the help of R/GA services, and focused on customer acquisition and conversion. Poshpacker went from 0.5% to 16% conversion to bookings and an average of 10% week on week growth rate on registered users. During these months, we intensely combined design thinking principles with lean startup.
Strengthen Booking.com’s Partnership
We negotiated moving from a white label with Booking.com to an XML 2 API to offer real time availability. This new integration allowed users to search by city or hotel with dates and number of guests in real time. It also allowed Poshpacker to add inventory and fulfill destinations on demand. I was in charge of managing the integration of the XML 2 API and the relationship with Booking.com’s XML team and Poshpacker’s programers.
Improved Brand Communication
Having R/GA as one of our investors, put brand teams from the agency at our disposition to help us strategize the best brand communication for Poshpacker. Our founding team met with the brand and design experience teams at R/GA to decide on best strategies on moving forward.
- Defined a content strategy for Poshpacker on the different content areas for the brand and channels. The content should not just relate to accommodation, but also all the interesting things to do, strange places to eat and obscure things to see. The experiences that you won’t find curated anywhere else.
- Content Concepts: leverage unique experiences (collection of stories), stunning visual storytelling (photography), guest partnerships (sponsored content and guest bloggers)
- Defined the roles of each social channel
Poshpacker –> PoshPacker
Most people wrote our name as PoshPacker. As such, we decided to go with it, and started writing PoshPacker.
Improved Brand Identity
During the Techstars program, R/GA also helped us re-visit our value proposition and pitch, brand attributes, brand personality, and the visual direction.
- Value Proposition process:
- Why: Because it’s hard to find cool places to stay that are also affordable…
- What: We’re creating a booking site featuring a curated selection of posh (unique design, history, or location) and affordable international places to stay…
- For: For people who want the best of both worlds – a place to stay that’s unique, but also within budget; time to be alone and time to be together…
- When/Where: By filtering for presence, people, privacy, perks, and price…
- How: In a way that helps travelers avoid the disappointment of ordinary accommodations and feel cool without spending a fortune.
- New Pitch: “PoshPacker brings Style and Originality to Budget Travel”
- Brand Attributes:
- Curated: Pulls in hard-to-find hoteliers
- Affordable: Cheap, but good cheap
- Experiences, not things: Values stories over tangible items
- Brand Personality: Explorer, Design Conscious, Edgy, Curious
New Visual Direction
The inspiration behind our new brand identity comes from the zebra animal. Inspire people to be part of the crowd, but without losing their individuality. This is a representation of our hostel private room options. Where travelers can stay at a private room, but are able to socialize and have the hostel experience. We call this the feeling of “alone together”. The zebra symbolizes a traveler always on the quest- a unique design with stripes that are specific to each individual animal with the ability to cooperate in a herd. A traveler always moving, always on a quest.
Zebra as our Mascot
New PoshPacker Patterns
- Why the Zebra? We chose the Zebra as Poshpacker’s official mascot because we share many similar qualities. Zebra is wonderfully unique in design with its stripes, just as all of our Poshpacker Picks have wonderful design presence. The meaning behind a Zebra’s stripes has to do with the integration of opposites. As Poshpacker is the integration of the opposite travel styles of, “Posh” travelers and back”Packer” travelers. Zebras have strong individuality but also cooperate well in groups. Poshpackers like to be “alone together”, they like their own privacy and individuality but also like to be social and around groups.
Designed New Zebra Pop-Up System and Flow
Together with my tech team, I was in charge of creating, designing and managing the development of a new pop-up system. The pop-ups around the site help travelers engage with the brand and navigate the site in a more fund-dynamic way. Zebra helps travelers to register, discover, and book places on Poshpacker.
- Registration: The first pop-up was to timed to encourage registration, join the community. I invented, designed, and managed the development of the user registration process. Each step contains it’s respective url’s for analytics tracking purposes. During this process, we gathered important information about the travelers for catered recommendations, matching their style and interests. At the end of the process, we recommend the travelers a destination to discover and a place to stay in that destination.
- User’s Profile: After the user is registered, I invented a simple profile system for them to manage their activities on the site, and account information. All the information entered during the registration process goes into the user’s profile. Users can also re-enter their interests and/ or desired destination on the “explore tab” to get more recommendations of where to go.
Metrics, KPI’s, Lean Startup
During the Techstars program, we used the Lean Startup methodology of Build, Measure, and Learn. Our business objectives were to improve users experience, engage customers, with the end goal of growing our community. We wanted to become the preferable site for millennial travel. Our main KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) to increase traffic, social media activity, conversion of traffic to registered users, and conversion of registered users to bookings. By using the Lean Startup methodology in building a better user experience, we were able to increase bookings from 0.5 to 10% avg month to month.
I was in charge of building presentation and storytelling. During these process, we received feedback from R/GA and Techstars mentors. R/GA did the final pitch deck touch.
The Techstars program helped us use metrics and KPI’s to measuring growth. They also connected us to incredible mentors from companies such as Google, JustBook (acquired by Secret Escapes) and CouchSurfing. See DemoDay Techstars presentation in Berlin, Germany below:
After we came back from Techstars in Berlin, PoshPacker was selected as one of the startup to represent the WeDC at South by South West in Austin. Taking advantage of this privileged opportunity, we brainstormed a few ideas to promote PoshPacker. We purchased an inexpensive 3 ft inflatable zebra and created a campaign to win a free stay.
Understanding the millennial generation is a must do for every organization. They are the fastest growing segment today. They will become the largest consumers by 2020. This is a generation to think about for the next decade to come. Let’s find out how can you become the preferred brand, service, or product for millennials.