Marriott Courtyard: Lobby Prototyping

Jared Spool

December 30th, 2009

Mark Hurst interviewed Brian King, VP & Global Brand Manager for Courtyard by Marriott about the new design of their hotels. It’s a great read, talking about how you revitalize a cash-cow business by creating a great experience.

One of Brian’s comments jumped out at me:

We took our knowledge and created, in a warehouse in San Francisco, an entire lobby made out of white foam core. We built it to scale. Then we brought in consumers to get feedback on the overall experience of the space. We didn’t want feedback on color choices, like blue versus red. Instead we wanted feedback on using welcome pedestals, rather than a clunky front desk. Our associates circle around the space rather than standing in one place, and we wanted customer feedback on that. And the foam core allowed for rapid prototyping. After we got user feedback, we could rip it apart and build it again to get the concept right.

It’s one thing to talk about the abstract notion of protoyping a web page or a dialog box. But to prototype an entire lobby experience? That’s pretty cool.

Not too different than what Apple did with the Apple Store. Who said an old-tyme business like Marriott can’t play the same game as the cool kids. See? There’s hope for us all!

Read the entire interview.

(Hat tip: Dana Chisnell)

2 Responses to “Marriott Courtyard: Lobby Prototyping”

  1. Kevin Farner Says:

    Last May, the UPA in MN had a session at the MN historical society. A panel presented on how they put together the MN 150 exhibit. They put together a full-scale exhibit in foam core and tested it out. It was a huge success too.

  2. Marriott rapid-prototypes a hotel lobby « Design and Innovation Daily Says:

    […] Marriott rapid-prototypes a hotel lobby Posted in methodology, user experience, user research by Dan on January 7, 2010 In the process of redesigning Courtyard by Marriot, a project which addressed the hotel chain’s lobbies along with the overall brand and customer experience, the company prototyped an entire hotel lobby with foam core, allowing them to quickly test and iterate on the lobby design. In Mark Hurst’s interview with Brain King, VP and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard, King discusses the user research strategies employed during the project. (Found via Jared Spool.) […]

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