User research - Discovery phase

M.S., Academic Project
Microsoft Office
For this academic project, I was presented the following scenario: Marriott International was asking me for recommendations in order to grow their business in the following ways:
  • Increase hotel bookings via website/app by 10%.
  • Increase reservations for the Luxury and Lifestyle Collection hotel categories.
  • Gain 10K incremental members of the Marriott Rewards loyalty program in the first quarter.
  • Decrease by 20% the number of people starting and then abandoning a reservation.
  • Increase by 5% the number of people choosing a hotel and flight package (vs. just booking their hotel alone).
It was clear to me that I needed to do some initial research to know how to both make recommendations for a redesign and for future usability studies. 

Nano usability study

I first conducted a short usability test with 3 members, simply watching how people booked a Marriott hotel and hearing their impressions. I wasn't collecting quantitative information here, just trying to get an idea of the process flow and pain points. 


Next, I designed a questionnaire to get a better understanding of user awareness of Marriott International's offerings and properties. The questionnaire can be viewed here, and its goals were:
  • To determine why people choose a hotel and airline.
  • To identify why a person signs up to a membership benefits programs and what fosters loyalty.
  • To identify the optimal task flow for users.
  • To identify pain points and delights for users.
  • To learn about mobile app users versus website users.


Finally, I conducted interviews to determine user attitudes and preferences when it came to hotel rooms. Two of the more interesting questions I was seeking to answer for myself were: (1) Do people use the Marriott mobile app to book Marriott hotels? (2) Do people book hotels before flights, or even at the same time? Marriott International had built business goals around these assumptions.
The above is my presentation outlining the findings of the interviews but also addressing the Marriott's business goals. Slides 24-25 show my recommendations for further study and goal reevaluation.