By the time a guest walks into the lobby of a Wyndham hotel property, they know what to expect: a clean, elegant setting where they can relax and enjoy some time away. This is not, however, the moment they “arrive” at one of the company’s hotels. That starts earlier, on one of the web sites or mobile apps that Jackie DiStasi keeps an eye on.
Speaking at the Digital CX virtual summit produced by CX Network on Wednesday, the senior director of digital analytics and optimization at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said the company has learned to pay close attention to this kind of customer journey. Its key pillars include everything from a “discovery” phase to account management, conversion and support.
DiStasi’s purview includes all 24 of Wyndham’s brand sites and 14 language variants of its mobile apps. She and her team not only track marketing analytics but handle AV testing and optimization, digital data governance and CDP activation. And just as potential guests tend to discover a Wyndham property by conducting a Google search, DiStasi and her team go through a discovery process of their own.
“When someone gets to that page, we ask ourselves what is the next step that we expect them to take?” she said. “ And if they’re not taking that step, then let’s use data to help us understand where are we going wrong.”
DiStasi said she also keeps an open mind to learn from customers’ behavior to refine and improve Wyndham’s digital customer experience (CX).
“We had an experience where we saw customers clicking on an unclickable element of the site,” she recalled. “We were thinking, ‘Oh gosh, it is not intended to work that way.’ But that’s the way the customer thinks that it works. And so this is a great opportunity to make that element clickable.”
Digital CX that drives bookings
This becomes critical for areas like conversion, which is obviously critical for a brand like Wyndham. Getting customers to book a room is the goal. DiStasi breaks down the digital CX imperatives here into three areas:
- Is the web site easy to navigate?
- Do they understand what they’re supposed to do?
- Can they get to the next step?
These are not always yes or no questions, however. When something goes awry, DiStasi said she and her team need to consider whether some part of the experience is defective, or whether it’s working as it should but customers are somehow confused.
“We’ve seen where users are searching and they’re getting ‘No results found errors,’” she said.
“That sometimes means we might not have a property in a particular location. But if they’re searching and it’s ‘Manhattan’ and it says no results found, that’s probably a sign that something’s up.”
Monitoring user sessions is critical to identifying the high-priority issues and determining what should be done. Wyndham uses a tool from a company called Quantum Metric for this purpose.
“We can get that qualitative data of why is this happening, providing that context,” she said. “That way, when we go to remediate something, we’ve got an example ready to go for the team that’s going to fix it.”
Achieving the right sensitivity for alerts
DeStasi uses ratios to determine which user flows are encountering a digital CX problem. She and her team also set up alerts for unexpected errors and anomalies. Here too, though, it’s about refining your approach over time.
“I think alerting is really a living, breathing thing. It’s not a ‘set it and forget it’ exercise,” she said. “You need to learn as you go through and experience issues that come up. You may find that an alert when off, but it’s not as sensitive as you wanted it to be. So you change the sensitivity of that alert.”
In a sense, DeStasi suggested her role is not unlike those who take care of guests once they check into a Wyndham hotel or resort. Waiting for how they rate their experience once they’re heading for home is not an option. The same goes for its Voice of the Customer program on the digital side.
“You could get one piece of feedback or two pieces for feedback, but that often represents a lot of other people who haven’t taken the time to go through and write it up,” she said. “Especially if it’s user experience-related, or defect-related, there are probably a lot more people experiencing the same thing.”
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.