Case Study — UX Advocacy

Data-driven Personas

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The Four Seasons digital team produces leading digital products for guests.

Understanding guest needs is as important online as it is on properties—I lead a project to better understand our digital customers.

UX Researcher
& Project Manager

Built a new framework for the traditional persona template

Enhance the customer journey dashboard with qualitative data

About the project

I joined the Four Seasons Digital Team in Summer 2019 with the core mission of creating 
digital personas.
A persona is an aggregation of user data into a character depicting key audiences. These are primarily used in design and marketing to enable human-centric design.

Working with the Digital Product & E-Commerce managers, I lead a project with our analytics vendor to develop a persona dashboard.

Meeting with stakeholders on the team about the project, I noticed the organization’s data-driven focus.

Synthesizing multiple user journey studies, former personas, and a cluster analysis findings during a whiteboard session.

Problem space

The organizations’ design and UX team was heavily rooted in quantitative and qualitative data. They had already conducted a cluster analysis on bookings data that cleanly defined digital customer segments.

To develop personas that would actually be used, UX documentation needed to speak the language of the organization.

In my own work, I always found personas to be reductive of rich user stories. It was time to try something new.

Creating personas from a cluster analysis of booking behaviour and existing research data about guest demographics.


After examining existing quantitative data to create the typical UX persona documents, I proposed a more sustainable source of user information.

Speaking to experts at Gartner research and our internal analytics team, we identified a new route to take to align with stakeholder needs: An experience dashboard that mapped our audience segments to the customer’s journey.

Proposed prototype of the larger living persona dashboard.


With the dashboard in a
minimum viable product Essentially the first version of a product with just enough features to satiate project goals
state, the dashboard’s use is focused on further personalizing the website experience and defining new products for users. 

Next steps are to build out segmented persona dashboards with Net Promoter Score (NPS) data and qualitative findings. While next steps are on hold with the pandemic, I hope to explore the dashboard to better understand changing customer behaviour.

Early prototypes of the the individual persona dashboards with additional qualitative and quantitative trackers.

In the end...

This project helped me develop a very key understanding for future work: it's important to stress test renowned UX frameworks against business goals.

Just because "everyone" is using it, doesn't mean it's going to serve every scenario and business goal. By speaking to leading experts, exploring methods, and driving buy-in internally with prototypes, I was able to launch a much more relevant framework to support Four Seasons and better understand guests.