The original prompt of this project was to explore what an outdoor recreation car rental system would look like. I learned from a short round of interviews that entry level outings for most people meant day trips or overnight camping, and that the potential customer base was young people who didn’t have the income to buy their own equipment. Assuming they could trust the material and the car, they would be willing to rent. Based on this research, I settled on pre-packed trips to cut down on customer choice and allay fears of “not having what you need.” Pre-packed trips would also be easier to manage for a new startup. The goal was to be able to say to the customer, don’t worry, we’ve thought of everything.
Trips out to the mountains aren’t going to happen in a Prius. Any car that we rented to the users needed to be rugged. While a big truck or SUV seemed tempting, a large segment of drivers don’t have experience operating such a large vehicle. Also the brand of car needed to have a reputation for reliability. For all these reasons I chose to go with Subaru. On the app, users select a trip, then pick up their car, pre-packed in the parking lot of the Seattle REI.
The equipment for the trips needed to be just as reliable as the car, so I chose REI to supply the gear. REI is a local company with a nationwide reputation for high-quality outdoor gear. This would also be a great way for REI to introduce people to their products. Like the tent you slept in on your weekend away? Check the app for links to its store page. Each pack would contain a warm outer jacket, a water canteen, a first aid kit, and an emergency beacon. Then the packs would be tailored to fit each trip by adding tents, trekking poles, and other gear as appropriate as well as instruction manuals for these items.
I had the frame of the system laid out, but I needed a brand. I decided to lead with photography because this was aimed at a younger, instagram-fluent, audience. I wanted them to think “I can go there, and get some beautiful photos to share with my friends.” To keep the natural scenery as prominent as possible, I build a UI based on borderless grids with charcoal gray and evergreen elements. I also knew I needed the name to be memorable. Names of other apps like AirBNB and Car-2-Go, are catchy and inform the user about their function, but I wanted a name that could double as a verb to describe the act of going on one of these pre-packed trips. The easy solution was to simply find a synonym for “trip.”
Next steps for this project would be doing extensive research on pricing. I would also like to build a fully functional prototype for the app and run lots of user testing. From there it’s just on to marketing, securing start up funding, hiring employees, and retiring wealthy by 35.