How to Use UX Thinking in Tourism? Talking User Experience with Martha Greenlee

A Florida-based Business Development Consultant, who uses a fascinating blend of personal expertise in areas including UX to market and develop communities, has given an unmissable ‘behind the scenes’ overview of her work.

Martha Greenlee combines experience in marketing, anthropology, real estate and tourism for consultancy clients. She is also a customer experience specialist, working with UX thinking both online and offline across a range of projects.

With a focus on the hospitality, arts and culture sectors, Martha’s consulting has a unique focus on communities and, therefore, takes a much broader view beyond traditional real estate.

Martha explained that her work focuses on “developing properties that are underperforming into high performing properties” with an emphasis on an entire geographical area as opposed to on an individual property.

“It’s one half real estate valuation, and that’s the dollars and cents of it, and then it’s half social conscience using my background in anthropology to look at the messaging you are providing as a community about who you are.

“It’s making sure that nothing is lost, that it’s authentic and what’s best for the society and area who’ll receive the benefit of the tourism.”

Martha’s path to such a unique role includes a range of unique experiences growing up.

“When you get project after project you don’t tend to think about how you got from one place to another and what your trajectory was.

“But, thinking about it, my great grandfather was one of the largest collectors of Portuguese maps and grandfather was an archaeologist.

“My father was a record producer so at an very early age I would go on tour, things like logistics and tour schedules impacted me.

“In college my mom wanted a travelling companion to go on educational tours.

“It gave me such an interesting position being younger, going on some of these older educational tours with anthropologists was incredible.”

This upbringing helps Martha apply her expertise to a range of projects and, as a seasoned traveller herself, to apply a global view.

“I work on a number of projects at the same time. Some of my projects are in the digital space, where I work on user experience.

“The tourism work is project to project, development to development, I’m now moving to Spain looking at the European market and advising on the EU.”

When asked how UX knowledge can overlap with tourism projects Martha explained how a sense of user experience can be applied beyond the online world.

“UX is everywhere, whether we’re consuming digital content or in real life.

“On a tour if you get too much in one day, for example when we were doing the street art tours on Vespas, you reach a threshold and you can’t take any more.

“It just depends on the type of tourism you are looking at with UX, it’s really important in UX to understand their threshold. Taking too much in is exhausting.”

The example of tours where the history being being visited may have a darker side gave another example of how UX thinking can be used not just online but in the tourism sector.

“If you’re developing tourism programmes it’s really important to be as specific as possible with managing the expectations going in. What is the content they are going to be consuming? What is the main thing they are going to get out of it?”

To learn more about these topics, and much more, watch our full Business Leaders video interview.

Martha Greenlee – LinkedIn



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