While gathering the right data is important, it’s not everything. Marriott needed to understand its data in ways that were approachable. But travelling in the customer’s shoes is easier said than done. Now, Bloomberg encourages teams to take on a more creative framework.
“I do think of myself as a data storyteller, not necessarily a data analyst. Analytics sound scary to some people, but it's really just using data to tell and support the story.”
This storytelling framework is especially helpful when data doesn’t tell the full picture. Instead of viewing open questions as obstacles, Marriott now embraces a different perspective on finding solutions. “Data is not perfect, especially digital data,” said Bloomberg. “And one of the things I love about data not being quite so perfect is that it gives you some space to add art to the science.”
For Marriott, that means asking the right questions. “Take conversion rates,” said Bloomberg. “It sounds really simple, but in a very complex ecosystem like Marriott.com, customers come for more than just booking at a hotel. They come for account management.” When conversion rates fluctuate, teams now have the tools to uncover if it’s because more customers are opting for digital check-in or they’re just using the site to find information that will lead to booking in the future — like finding a specific hotel’s phone number or address on the homepage.
Instead of just looking at the numbers, Marriott’s Bloomberg has also shown the hospitality giant how to think like its customers — weary from a day of business travel or looking to recharge after exploring the streets of a new city. And then apply that mindset to improving experiences like mobile check-in.
“When customers arrive using their mobile key, we want to know what makes that experience easy for them,” said Bloomberg. “The data is there to help us figure out if the experience is working. Are people using this feature? If so, we’re looking to the data to see what they like and don't like.”
This mindset has pushed Marriott to test different features and functionality to offer quick information about hotel amenities, local dining options, transportation or local attractions — at just the right moments to fuel a travel story that customers will keep telling.