Preparing the ground for a new version of the online tool for hoteliers (2016-2017)

HolidayCheck Business Center

This case shows the process of creating a new version of the product, including research, rebuilding the information architecture and adjusting the features to the needs of a specialized group of customers.

Project background

As I already mentioned in the Cruise case, the HolidayCheck is a German company which was one of the first portals for holidaymakers.

The Problem

My first project, which I carried out in this company, concerned the reconstruction of an existing tool, which hoteliers used to edit their hotel's profile. This tool was outdated, and at first glance, we could see many usability problems and information architecture difficulties. The tool required not only analysis but also adaptation to the needs and expectations of hoteliers.

My role

In this project, I was supposed to be a typical UX Designer, but I extended the scope of my duties to research as well.
I not only analyzed the architecture and potential problems (user feedback) but also planned meetings with local hoteliers to conduct contextual interviews with them and better understand their daily work. Thanks to that I could look at the project differently, having in mind how they work, what tools they use and what their task list looks like.

Discovering

My most significant discovery in this project was a combination of Customer Journey Maps - a hotelier and a person going on holiday (“Travel Experience” on previous page). It turned out that at many moments they are interestingly connected:
- when the client is looking for holiday offers and is excited - the hotelier feels stress and discomfort, because he has to take care of advertising and certain visibility of the offers (he settles with the numbers)
- when a client appears in a hotel, he or she usually feels the "effect of disappointment." (hoteliers' words), because in the pictures the hotel looked more attractive, the weather was more beautiful; for the hotelier, it is a very positive moment, because it is the first contact with the customer and can offer him additional paid services (e.g., gym for a muscular person or romantic dinners for a couple).

Designing

After all the designing works we prepared a project of a new tool for hoteliers. In many places, the project was based on the gathered information and was supposed to be adjusted as much as possible to the needs and expectations of hoteliers.

After all the designing works we prepared a project of a new tool for hoteliers. In many places, the project was based on the gathered information and was supposed to be adjusted as much as possible to the needs and expectations of hoteliers.
This is obvious in my case - the project had to be tested with the users. We conducted usability tests on Majorca, visiting several hotels and doing them in the natural environment of hoteliers. Thanks to that we could feel the atmosphere of their everyday work and see which computers they usually work on. The most memorable test that I carried out in a small room filled with keys to the rooms. Often somebody entered to the room, which reflected the level of distraction to which these people can be exposed.

Looking back

It was a unique project, which allowed me to meet a new group of clients - hoteliers. I know from experience that the more specific industry, the less you can think of a "typical user." It was a very instructive lesson to be able to talk to and test the design assumptions in the natural workplace of these people. And the combination of two Customer Journey Maps and finding dependencies gave me as much fun as a Nobel Prize discovery. I will never forget it, and it will always be my motivation to look at the project and its surroundings from a broader perspective.

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