An individual passion project
Over the summer in 2017, I traveled to Key West and stayed in a boutique hotel — The Perry Hotel. By talking to their front desks staff, I knew that they were in the middle of innovating and redesigning the guest experience with technology. I thought it was an interesting design problem to explore, so I gave myself a small design task.
I designed Alyssa, a SMS chatbot that engages guests and facilitates better service, but without detracting from the personalized touch that their loyal guests love. Below is the design process I went over:
About The Perry Hotel
The Perry Hotel is a new and maritime-inspired boutique hotel near Key West on Stock Island. It has the historical and laid back lifestyle in Stock Island paired with the exciting destination of Key West and all the charm & adventure it holds.
Build up an understanding of current guest experience and discover users' needs
In the research phase, I conducted contextual inquiries with two guests at the Perry Hotel and then created a journey map based on the results. I focused on answering these two key questions:
1 ) What are the areas in users’ experience that can be improved?
2 ) What are the touch points that technology can come in to enhance the guests' experience?
I also asked the guests to imagine a technology-based solution to improve their stay experience. Drawing from the guests' responses, I found that the hotel guests have the following needs that can be solved by design:
envisioning the SOLUTION
A chatbot that is both functional and personal
I defined the goal as to build a
After brainstorming several product ideas, I decided to build a SMS chatbot especially for The Perry Hotel.
There're several benefits of the SMS chatbot:
1 ) Easy To Use - there're no learning curve
2 ) Personal and Intuitive Interactions - make requests as natural as having a conversation
3 ) On The Go - can assess the chatbot anywhere, anytime
4 ) Low Business Costs - SMS chatbot is one of the most economical solutions
Learning from competitors
Explore the use of chatbot in hotel industry
To familiar myself with chatbot, I looked at CUI technology in the hotel sector to understand how technology was currently being used to connect guests to hotel services.
Prioritizing the features based on user research
Based on the research insights and the business goal of The Perry Hotel, I started to imagine a chatbot that might accomplish three goals:
Then, I identified a list of user intentions that the CUI would support, as shown below:
What is guest's experience with the chatbot?
Let’s meet Lisa. She is a third year undergraduate student. She and her two friends want to spend their spring break at Key West. She is attracted to boutique hotels are as individual as the hotels themselves and tend to be just as hip. She enjoys creative design, quirky character, and luxurious service. She decides to give the Perry Hotel a try.
She is very busy with school, so she can only pack up her luggage one day before the travel. She receives a text message from Alyssa, a chatbot from the Perry Hotel. It tells her information about her future stay, so she has an expectation of what she needs to prepare.
Lisa is out visiting the local attractions and she does not know the city at all. Lisa needs help on the top places to visit, advice on a nice restaurant and she also needs to know what time dinner is served at the hotel, to be back in time.
Lisa texts Alyssa “what’s the best bar in town?” and she sees the best bars, their description, how far they are from her current location and even the drink menu. She does the same with the top tourist attractions or suggested places for lunch. She also wants more toothpaste, so she texts Alyssa to request some from the hotel. Lisa is doing all this without calling the hotel and without distracting the reception. All she does is having a conversation with Alyssa.
conversation Protocol + Experience Prototyping
What and how does the chatbot respond?
In the design phase, I developed a conversation protocol that the chatbot would follow to address any instances from the list of intentions. I also used the conversation protocol for experience prototyping.
Test and refine the design
I used the protocal to conduct two user testing sessions. I first described the context to users, and then I asked them to follow the script to complete the task. Meanwhile, I asked them to do a think-a-loud when they saw the response from the chatbot.
Based on the user testing feedbacks, I did some iterations on the conversation protocol.