A surefire technique to come up with creative solutions for users’ needs.

Why it matters
Design thinking is useful even if you are not a designer by trade. It can help you reframe how you look at any challenge in your business.

What’s important
We’ve broken it down into simple steps and applied it to the hospitality industry so you can see the process clearly both in theory and in practice.



Information is power.
The first step in this approach is to empathize with your users, to gather information about what matters to them. With this data, you will be able to make wise decisions and choose the fastest path to your objective.

In your hotel, you have ample ways to see your property through the eyes of your guests:

  • Read comments in guestbooks, Tripadvisor, and comment cards.
  • Stay on top of your hotel’s tags on social media.
  • Track guests’ interaction with you via social media vs. website.


The more specific, the better.
The more precisely you can define your audience, the easier it is to fine-tune the actions needed to reach them. The benefits are widely felt as well, as it will ultimately cost less to hit the mark, and you’ll do so with better content.

Some tricks of the trade applied to hospitality:

  • Choose real guests as the faces of your target demographic.
  • List the pros and cons that influence their decisions.
  • Roleplay – put yourself in their shoes and see how they fit and feel.


Now that you’ve defined your user, it’s time to get their attention.
Knowing their profile helps you figure out how to best interact with your audience.

Some resources to rev up your creative engines:

  • Look up references (Pinterest boards are useful).
  • Imagine your property from a guest’s perspective (as opposed to your own).
  • Start with some keywords and phrases (refer to step 2).
  • Share your ideas with the team to give them shape.


Your idea is live, now what?
Once you’ve launched your idea, there are actions to be taken in both the digital and analog spheres to gauge how it is faring and any changes to be made in the future to further improve.

Examples in the digital world:

  • SM content: keep up on the insights.
  • If your idea is a site: Analytics will tell you everything you want to know.
  • If your idea is a Booking Engine implementation: Keep a careful eye on the statistics and salient info (fail points).

Examples in analog:

  • New uniforms: look at the faces, and see if they are comfortable.
  • New menu in the restaurant: are they resistant to wear and tear?
  • New collateral in the rooms: do the guests take them? Success!

Topic Takeaways
Observe diligently without judgment. Gather as much intel about your audience and come up with a variety of ideas that are simple and easy to implement. Design is not set in stone, and not all ideas will work, so stay humble and adjust quickly…