During the pandemic, my time at Choice Hotels has been a wild ride that is both exciting and a little nerve racking (but mostly exciting). Having started the week of lockdown in March of 2020, I was fully remote for my first 575 days at Choice - onboarding in the first of many groups of virtual new hires.
Working in hospitality & travel during the pandemic was interesting, but full of surprising opportunities. During my first year at Choice Hotels, I was asked to put my marketing & graphic design hat back on for a bit. The request was to help the company in a massive effort to advertise and market ways to get people to stay at hotels safely whenever they were ready to travel again.
Though I was hired on to work in e-commerce as “UX Designer II” (essentially a product designer), there was a limited amount of resources internally to help with the graphic design and marketing needs during 2020. The entire first year, until about February of 2021, I was deep in marketing campaigns and helping to design out the most effective digital promotions we could think of. By 2021 I was able to step back into product and continue my journey as a UX designer at Choice Hotels.
This was not a time for egos, and fortunately I had a robust background in marketing to help out with this need. I worked on over a dozen campaigns and promotions of all sizes during that first year to help the company succeed - knowing that eventually I would be able to fully focus on product design again. Of course, this was not done alone - I worked side-by-side with amazing internal marketing & content teams meeting a bunch of new people I wouldn’t have normally met within the product realm.
In addition to working on several marketing initiatives, I was also pulled in to help design the future vision of digital products & experiences at Choice Hotels. Partnering with my executive leadership and other leaders in the organization, I was able to concept and create rough ideas of exciting new products and features we envisioned. For obvious reasons I can never show these things to you, the public, but it was still a blast working on this roadmap.
During the last few months of 2020 an open position for a graphic designer was posted, but the team had no luck in finding the right candidate. Curiously, I looked at the description and noticed that it could use a little direction. I helped the team identify what they were asking for and essentially re-wrote the job description for two possible positions. Within weeks we had the right candidate hired to design all our digital marketing needs.
By late spring of 2021 we had onboarded the new designer for marketing and I was officially assigned to my first product vertical - a chunk of the booking flow for the Choice Hotels’ website. My focus: the property & rates pages, which is a key part and the second most visited area of the website. Since then I’ve been learning, ideating, designing, testing, and working with a fantastic team of product & engineering people to improve the booking experience on choicehotels.com.
I can’t publicly share a lot of details of what I’ve been working on (yet), especially any big initiatives as they haven’t fully launched. However, I am more than happy to talk about my experiences so far and the latest work I’ve been doing, so email me at email@example.com to set up a time to chat.