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How design thinking drives Marriott's digital strategy

Clint Boulton | April 11, 2017
The world’s largest hotelier refreshed its mobile application to follow guests through their stay.

As Marriott explores these options it will lean heavily on data generated from guest feedback, which contributed to the mobile app relaunch. While Marriott relies on web analytics tools and social media, it also checks consumers' pulse through 20,000 in-application survey response a month and application store reviews. And while employees have spirited debates about what they think is cool or what the user would want, the customer-driven metrics win out. "Metrics are our lifeblood," Corbin says. "Our mantra is, 'data over opinion.'"

While digital "owns" the customer experience, including the website and mobile app, employees from both digital and IT are co-located and build software in agile scrum teams. When issues arise, such as the API problem and UX booking path snafu that darkened the mobile app relaunch in February, members of each team tackled the challenge together and rolled out updates over the next several days. There was no finger-pointing, no digital versus IT, Corbin says.

Ultimately, products are developed, fixed and polished with the customer in mind. "The customer is the ultimate arbiter of where we want to focus," Corbin says. "Once you share that with everybody in the organization, people get aligned quickly."


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