Booking a vacation — using your emotions? (CASE STUDY)

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Can you plan a vacation based on your emotions? We’ll take a look at a new workflow.

Are human emotions enough to help plan something long term? Emotions are fleeting and would sometimes only exist - in the same state - for a few minutes. I decided to explore the possibility of combining personalization AND human emotions.


"Simply, personalization is matching content to the user's specific preferences, whether they actually input those cues or not. Personalization is initiated by a number of things, such as adjusting the settings on a site or app"


Google’s Travel Destinations Search Image from

Google’s Travel Destinations Search Image from

I was heavily inspired by Google's new "Travel Destinations" feature already built into their search engine (video at end) and by IBM's Watson powered "Cognitive Cooking Site". What if I leveraged the natural language processing from Watson and the power of Google Destinations? What if I took that one stop further? 

Enter Vactionr The first travel application that relies on your emotions to plan a trip. The personalization factor presents you with a robust set of options, based on how you're feeling. Vacationr walks you through a series of questions, framed like a narrative and are aimed at helping you find the perfect vacation. 

Let's that a look



This is the page the you’ll land on. You’re asked a simple question “What is your mood?” This question is meant to put you at ease by humanizing the online travel booking experience. We provide you with a wide array of emotions to choose from. As soon as you do, the artificial intelligence kicks in and the application begins to learn about you.


 You've selected "cuddle a kitten". This lets us know your happiness is caused by something outside yourself and usually involves one or more of the five senses.

Now that we know that you’re “happy” — we want to know what kind of happy are you? Believe it or not, each sub category can produce thousands of variable results.

For instance, if you select you're in love - we won't rule out the possibility of romantic destinations or the fact you could be traveling with a partner.  

You've selected "cuddle a kitten". This lets us know your happiness is caused by something outside yourself and usually involves one or more of the five senses.


Remember Mad Libs? We’re giving you the “fill in the blank” option so you can tell only what you want to. Don’t want to answer a question? Simply select the “skip” option.

 Behind the scenes our program is beginning to learn about you and each time you answer a question — the context of the remaining questions will change. For instance: if in the “Usually I travel _____” option you’ve selected “with friends” (instead of “alone”) the images below would change to reflect more social activities


The  remaining questions rely on smart image filtering. Once you get down to below 5 trips we’ll display the recommended trips to you. How does it help us to know what your last vacation looked like? We’re betting you don’t want to repeat the same vacation twice (but if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to let us know).

Let us know your favorite food and season. We'll do the rest.


Your results are displayed in a easy to read card format (have I mentioned how much I adore Material Design?) The information on the cards is easy to scan, explore or dismiss. 

When you hit “Explore” you’ll be presented with one of several pre planned itineraries, including the easiest options for travel, transit, lodging and accommodations (this is how Google Destinations. The itineraries are broken down by day — depending on how long you want to be away

There are other aspects to consider when planning a vacation: budget, flights, and accommodations. Google destinations does a great job of doing this and I highly suggest trying it out.