All posts by 370524vg

Travellr, the holiday match maker

One of the most difficult choices in life is: where to go on holiday? TUI, which is the largest travel company in the world, is aware of this huge dilemma. That’s why they developed an app called ‘Travellr’, which can be described as Tinder for holidays. This app helps (especially young) people to decide where to go on holiday, with a little help from the crowd.

So, they combine Tinder with holidays? I’m interested!

It’s very simple. When you open the app, you will see a number of holiday pictures. Just like with Tinder, you have to assess these pictures one by one. When you like the picture, you swipe to the right and when you don’t like it, you swipe to the left. The pictures that are shown are REAL holiday pictures posted on Instagram. Geotagging makes it possible to identify where these pictures were taken. After assessing a number of pictures, an algorithm makes a top 3 of destinations that matched your preferences. More information about the destinations is shown and it is even possible to book a holiday to this destination.

Travellr top 3

But why would I use this application?

Most people make decisions about their holiday destination by talking with other people or by looking on the internet. This app takes the decision making process to another level for the following reasons:

  • Travellr is an interactive and easy way to find some potential destinations. And because it’s mobile, it works very fast: two minutes of swiping is enough to get a result.
  • The crowd helps you by posting their holiday pictures on Instagram. And they don’t even know it!
  • It’s just fun to do. And pictures say more than 1000 words, so you don’t have to go through a bunch of travel websites which make the choice even more difficult.

Travellr info

Sounds like an innovating business model, what about efficiency?

Travellr meets the joint profitability criteria as both user and company (TUI) can benefit from the app. The user can easily find a holiday destination and they can book directly at TUI, which increases sales. Moreover, the fact that Travellr provides some information about the destination, makes it beneficial for both users and company (get people interested). Furthermore the feasibility is satisfied as all the photos are publically available, which reduces privacy issues. They even have a geotag which means that they have NOTHING to hide (well, almost then). This also implies that the judiciary and social norms criteria are met, as the name of the poster is also included in the picture, which means that there are no copyright issues.

Why isn’t it a gigantic success then?

Actually, I don’t expect that it will become a popular app in the long term. The app is more suitable to find some inspiration, it’s not likely that people will base such an important decision just on this single app, let alone booking it directly. It serves just as a promotional tool to attract millennials. But I have to say: it’s a good tool as it is fun to do. In the end, this is the goal of TUI and I believe that they will succeed in attracting a younger target group.


Say hi. Say bye. Hey ho!

Are you also familiar with the feeling that you want to buy something which you don’t really need? Me neither. Nevertheless there is a new online platform called ‘Letgo’ which raised 175 million dollars from investors (Emerce, 2017). And last month they entered the Dutch market, you might have seen their annoying (yet catchy) advertisements on TV or on billboards. Letgo is basically a platform where people can buy and sell second hand stuff.

Sounds promising, how does it work?

Letgo is a free app for Android and iOS where you can find deals for second hand products (AndroidWorld, 2017). It is possible to create a personal profile where you can tell something about yourself. In addition you can link your profile with your Facebook account. Users can place advertisements, chat with others or extend their network by inviting others via Facebook. The app shows a map of the neighborhood of your current location and shows the products which are for sale. Furthermore you can see what your friends are selling. When you click on one of the ads, you get the possibility to place a bid, share the ad or chat with the seller.


But aren’t there a billion websites doing the same thing?

No, there are only a few thousand websites doing the same thing. But Letgo is slightly different:

  • By including Facebook, Letgo becomes more ‘social’ compared to other platforms like Marktplaats or eBay. Furthermore it is not necessary to send emails or make phone calls to make a deal as you can chat via the app.
  • It’s much fancier than other platforms (hipster alert!). I think that it’s a bit like Tinder, but instead of selling yourself you can sell your stuff (and meet new people).
  • Another part of their unique proposition is its focus on local as you can only see ads near your current location.


How would you evaluate this fantastic business model?

When looking at the joint profitability, they meet this requirement as there are strong network effects. More sellers lead to an increase in (potential) buyers (and the other way around), which enables Letgo to gather more users and data. It’s a bit shady, but it’s likely that Letgo earns money by selling data. Letgo also satisfies the feasibility as there are many similar platforms. The judiciary and polity requirements are less relevant for this case, but the social norms dimension is met as Letgo is already popular in the US, which establishes trust. The achievability criteria is also met as used products are increasing in popularity (AD, 2017).

So, Letgo has a bright future

Not sure about that… This platform is useless if you are looking for a particular product. Furthermore there are already numerous Facebook groups which provide the same ‘social’ and ‘local’ experience. On the other hand, Letgo is focused on mobile devices, which makes it easier, faster and more fun to buy and sell. You could argue that there are tons of dating sites, but Tinder remains a popular app for the exact same reasons. Hence, I believe that Letgo can become a successful platform, especially among young people.

How Scarcity and Personalization Affect Seed Stage Referrals

Admit it: you all have spent hours at those rotating displays when looking for a key ring/mug/magnet with your name on it. Personalization is not new, but the digital age is changing the way how this phenomenon is practiced. Koch & Benlian (2015) studied the implementation of scarcity and personalization in viral videos.  Previous research on viral marketing focused on firm level outcomes (e.g. sales) and individual level outcomes (decision making). Also factors that stimulate virality, such as content characteristics, have been studied in the past. The goal of this paper was to find out how ‘traditional promotional tactics’ as scarcity and personalization (in video advertisements) influence consumers’ referral decisions.

Hmm interesting. But how did they measure it?

The authors based their study on an online service called ‘StyleCrowd’, which gives its users style recommendations based on body characteristics. Users of this service can directly shop these recommendations at significant discounts. They used a 2 x 3 design, which implied that there were two conditions for personalization (presence/absence) and three conditions for scarcity (non/low/high). The participants (n=119) were randomly assigned to one of the six groups. The participants watched a video about StyleCrowd and after that, a message was shown.


Sounds cool, what did they found out?

  • It was found that scarcity has indeed a significant positive effect on the likelihood that a consumer engages in referrals.
  • The same effect was found for personalization, especially when there was a pre-existing relationship between customer and company.
  • They also looked at the interaction between personalization and scarcity, there outcome was that personalization is particularly effective when scarcity cues are absent.

That sounds almost too good to be true

Well, it’s indeed a nice study, viral marketing is a relatively new research area. They did a good job by including personalization in this study, especially as this phenomenon is getting more important (Tam & Ho, 2006). They also used a new platform which means less biased participants as they see it for the first time. But it’s not clear from their study how scarce a product should be in order to increase clicks. In other words: scarcity can’t be measured as a nominal variable (no/low/high). It would be better if they included more than three conditions. Another option is to randomize the number of available spots (e.g. between 15 and 100) to see if an increasing scarcity correlates with higher clicks. For future research I suggest that it would be interesting to look at other product groups, as online fashion is more appealing for women.

Good for them, but what are the practical implications?

For companies, it can be useful to include scarcity cues in their videos/advertisements. When there is a pre-existing relationship between marketer and consumer, personalization should be included in videos. It is not recommended to use both scarcity and personalization at the same time, as it reduces referrals. An example of a company which ‘nails’ scarcity is KLM: when you want to book a flight, a message is shown when there are ‘only a few spots left’. Nike is a company which successfully implemented personalized videos. They sent 100.000 personalized videos to Nike+ users which included their progress over the past year. The videos were fun to watch and they eventually went viral.


Koch, O., F., Benlian, A. (2015) ‘Promotional Tactics for Online Viral marketing Campaigns: How Scarcity and Personalization Affect Seed Stage Referrals’, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 32: pp. 37-52.

Tam, K., Y., Ho, S., Y. (2006) ‘Understanding the Impact of Web Personalization on User Information Processing and Decision Outcomes’, MIS Quarterly, 30, 4: pp. 865-890.