Designing for Relationships in the Hospitality Industry
The client and the ask
Pegasus Solutions is a travel technology company focusing on hospitality solutions. The company was founded 30 years ago producing the first system for connecting hotel reservation systems with global distribution. Today, Pegasus powers 100,000 hotels with its solutions for reservations, distribution, direct booking, voice services, digital marketing, and business intelligence.
We worked with Pegasus to design a new section of the hospitality platform called the Relationship Module. The Relationship Module bridges current gaps in communication between hotel employees, as well as Pegasus and their customers.
I was the primary UX Designer and Prototyper on this project, while providing UX research support in the form of interviewing and usability testing.
- There is no way for users to communicate with one another through the Pegasus platform. Hotel staff currently use a mix of communication channels such as in-person meetings, email, and bulletin boards.
- There is nothing in the market that focuses on enhancing relationships internally among hospitality staff.
- Hoteliers must use multiple systems to accomplish their day-to-day work.
- Hoteliers lack software products that provide elements of fun and delight.
We conducted 4 user interviews with folks of different roles within the hotel industry. We discovered that much of the communication is done through verbal announcements or written on an analog log or bulletin board. However, since hotels are a 24/7 service, employees not present for meetings must rely on these static notices to get valuable information. Hotel managers also want to spend less time in their offices dealing with paperwork and more time in front of guests and their crew.
I conducted 1 of the 4 interviews with a hotel General Manager.
Based on the user interviews, we mapped out 5 user journeys for the tasks and situations that we felt our Relationship Module could be of service. Below is the user journey I created for a General Manager.
This is our final architecture after multiple wireframe iterations and conducting usability testing. I created the architecture diagram in Omnigraffle.
We created a flow for each task performed within the Relationship Module. I created the User Flow diagram below to outline the path of creating an event.
Wireframes and Usability Testing
We performed 7 usability tests on 3 iterations of prototypes. I created each prototype in Axure with built out functionality for all of our testing goals.
High Level Testing Goals:
- What sections are the most useful and fit into the ebb and flow of the hotelier's work day?
- Uncover any usability issues with the information architecture, labels, and interactions
Usability Test Version 1 - Axure Prototype
Key Findings & Takeaways from Testing
- The Journal was the most confusing part of the Relationship Module for each participant
- Participant 3: “This [Journal] is not something I wouldn’t personally use very much.
- The Guest Feedback section was a source of confusion regarding where the feedback was actually coming from . Most participants believed the feedback was coming from OTA sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com, even though there was an OTA section.
- There is ambiguity about who the audience for the Relationship Module is
- For the announcements section, at least two participants were unclear about who could post and see announcements and events.
- Each user found the Reputation section to be the most useful
Usability Test Version 2 - Axure Prototype
Key Findings & Takeaways from Testing
- The audience is still unclear to many participants
- Participants still unclear as to which employees can view and post announcements and events.
- Who is the audience for the articles?
- The Recognitions section was received well by those participants with whom it would be relevant.
- “Nice to get feedback on how you’re doing your job. We don’t get too much feedback. Staff might not know how to articulate it well.”
- News and events was deemed as a useful feature.
- The most useful feature of the module depended on the role of the participant within the hospitality industry. Participants concerned with guest feedback found the Reputation section to be the most useful. Participants in a role not directly related to marketing or sales found the News and Events section most useful.
Usability Test Version 3 - Axure Prototype
Key Findings and Takeaways from Testing
- The simplified architecture with removed excess features made the Relationship Module easier to understand and navigate for participants
I created the final designs using Sketch and the interactions using Keynote. Videos have no audio.
Jeff, General Manager at international hotel
As a General Manager, Jeff is responsible for every aspect of the hotel including the people who work there and the guests that stay there. He manages the day-to-day and long-term operations of his hotel, while delivering an excellent guest experience.
Jeff has received a call from his Area Manager that there will be a site inspection of his hotel sometime during the week, but was not given a specific date. He wants to notify his staff of the coming inspection so they can be prepared.
Theresa, Events Manager at Boutique Hotel
As an Events Manager, Theresa is responsible for making sure her staff is informed about upcoming events occurring at the hotel so they are prepared. Communication is key to making sure events run without a hitch and guests leave happy and stress-free.
There is a wedding occurring at the hotel that Theresa wants to make sure her staff is prepared and ready for. She wants to add the wedding to the hotel's calendar of events and include any specific detail for her staff to be aware of.
Victor, Sales & Marketing Manager at REgional Hotel
As Sales & Marketing Manager, Victor is responsible for developing programs to increase occupancy and make profitable use of its accommodation, meeting, and leisure facilities. His team creates marketing campaigns and he manages the west coast group sales to make use of the conference space.
As the manager of west coast sales and marketing, Victor oversees 7 hotels. He recently launched a new social media campaign about major room remodels to his property. Victor wants to check to see how that campaign has impacted their online following and if the room remodels have affected the ranking of the hotel.