GuestReady is a short-term rental management company with more than 2 thousand properties across the UK, France, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
To successfully serve a global market, the company needed a centralised communication platform that seamlessly connects all the main booking channels and enables a quick access to the relevant information about bookings and properties.
Understanding the process and identifying the problems
We started as usual, getting familiar with the process, the main users, their goals and pain points, and all the tools that are currently used.
As the company is spread across different markets, and at that point had already acquired 3 other companies, the processes and tools used in guest communication varied significantly from market to market.
Guest communication process
The guest communication process has 4 main stages. Each stage has its own main goal and set of objectives:
Problems with the current process
We identified 2 main problems across all markets:
- Too many different apps needed in the process
- Not easy to access and update relevant information (Check-in and out times, all the property info etc.)
We also gathered plenty of notes for potential improvements, both general and market-specific:
Wireframes – Exploration of layout options
Once we got familiar with the guest communication process and identified the main issues, we started exploring possible solutions.
Initially we came up with 4 layout options:
- Chat view with tabs
- Chat view with sidebar
- Inbox view
- Hybrid view
Four layout options were tested with users, and the winner was “Hybrid view” – a mix of chat and inbox UI approach (the last image above).
Mockups and Prototype
At that point we already had the main components of our design system which we built for the Task assignment project ready in Sketch, so we could move to mockups and prototypes that we would test with users and iterate from there.
Miro app was very useful in all stages of this project – from research to testing, keeping track of feedback and notes for future improvements and iterations.
Testing and iteration
As the guest communication has a fair amount of complexity, static mockups and even the interactive prototype made in Sketch app were somewhat limiting. We knew that we had to build the most basic working version as soon as possible, and learn from it, so the project was divided into smaller chunks that were implemented gradually:
1) MVP – Display conversations and categories + main filters, in the right sidebar display the overview tab + be able to send a reply
2) Adding saved replies
3) Call center integration – be able to place and receive calls from guests
4) Tab with automated messages
5) Amenities, Listings and Calendar tabs
The GuestReady communication platform helped centralising guest communications and making the whole process more pleasant and efficient.
As everybody that is building digital tools knows, the product is never finished, the business and user needs are constantly evolving and there is always space for improvements.
Building the app stage by stage and gathering user feedback on each step enabled us to do continuous improvements in the UI.