All posts by: Jessica

Part One: Augmented Reality Series – Healthcare

Jessica and Google Glasses
Me (Jessica) geeking out about our new Google Glasses and taking a selfie to share it with the world!

Google Glass Has Arrived

Our team received our first pair of Google Glasses today so we thought it was the perfect day to start our augmented reality series recapping all of the research we have done in preparation for an upcoming project. Part one is augmented reality in healthcare!

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Power to the People

So, what is augmented reality doing in healthcare? It is giving people the power to take control of their health. Two notable examples come to mind.

Ingestible Event Marker
Ingestible Event Marker

The first is an ingestible sensor that once inside a patient can transmit data back to doctors. Basically, a patient swallows a pill with a sensor inside. The sensor is activated by stomach acid and it begins transferring information through the user’s body tissue to a patch worn on the skin that detects the signal and marks the precise time an ingestible sensor has been taken. Additional physiologic and behavioral metrics collected by the patch include heart rate, body position and activity. The patch relays information to a mobile phone application. With the patient’s consent, the information is accessible by caregivers and clinicians, helping individuals to develop and sustain healthy habits, families to make better health choices, and clinicians to provide more effective, data-driven care. The FDA has approved the sensors, called Ingestion Event Markers. Read more about how it works on the manufacturer’s website.

Mimo Baby Onesie

The second is an infant onesie that can track vitals of the child and transmit them back to parents. I am talking about The Mimo Baby, made by a company called Rest Devices. The onesie has two green stripes on the front that are actually respiratory sensors. Additionally, it comes with a removable, turtle-shaped clip, with sensors allowing it to monitor the baby’s body position, activity level and skin temperature. Then, parents can see all that data in an iOS/Android app or, potentially, a light-up smart mug that shows the baby’s respiratory patterns. Read more about it on the manufacturer’s website.

WELL Speed for WELL Spa + Salon

When the WELL Spa® + Salon needed a landing page for a new product launch, they knew where to turn. To grab potential customer’s attention, we developed a responsive page with large imagery. With this, we needed to make sure we ran a page load analysis to ensure the page would load quickly for all of our customers – from those on a desktop computer with WiFi to those on their mobile phone using their carrier’s network.

Upon initial testing, we found that the load time for the first view of the page was almost seven seconds. To get that number down our front end developer compressed and optimized the .PNG and .JPEG files, minified and removed comments from all CSS and Javascript files and finally, ensured that all Javascript calls were at the bottom of the page. After these few optimization efforts the load time on the first view went down by more than half to 2.754 seconds.

See our before and after numbers below.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 2.20.06 PM

Home is Where the Heart Is

A website’s homepage is the heart of its web presence. A majority of site visitors enter on the homepage either from a referral source, a search engine (organic and paid) or by typing the URL directly into their browser. An effective homepage design is crucial to success. During the design process we look at metrics (if they exist) for top pages visited by customers, visitor flow throughout the site, usability testing, and design best practices, however, once a website is designed, approved, developed and launched we still need to do our due diligence. And that is exactly what we have done with Grand Geneva’s award-winning website’s homepage.

Three Wishes

Grand Geneva’s homepage design focuses on large, hero images of the beautiful property. Strong, experiential imagery really sells a resort like Grand Geneva and we wanted to leverage that, however we know for the resort to be successful in organic search we needed to include some copy, somewhere. We chose a title with a fly-out content section to keep the focus on the imagery. We did not want to take away from the images with an overwhelming primary navigation either so we condensed it into three main categories: “rest and relaxation,” “explore and plan,” and “event planning.” Next, we took the three top pages based on the resort’s history in Google Analytics and added a fly-out bar to highlight these: accommodations, activities and events, and special and packages. We measured all of these components to assess how our customers were responding based on where they clicked when they entered the site on the homepage.

Read more

A Boutique Hotel CheckMate’s Big Brand Mobile Check-in Experience

CheckMate App

The Pfister Hotel is a Milwaukee icon, a pinnacle of luxury and hospitality, both locally and with our guests throughout the world. The hotel is a cornerstone of our corporation and as an information technology team we strive to provide the hotel with the same caliber of service they provide their guests. Last month we assisted the property in a rollout of a new mobile application, called CheckMate, that allows their guests to check-in on a mobile device and book room or amenity upgrades.

The Best for Our Best

We decided on a soft rollout of the application by providing access to the program to our loyalty and frequent guests initially, with the option to rollout the program to all of our guests once we were comfortable from an operations standpoint to handle the demand that would come with the entirety of our guests accessing the upgrades and check-in functionality. Another key component of this was incorporating our inventory reporting with the application so we could ensure that upgrades would only be booked that were available and so we could control upgrade rates based on the availability on any given night.

The application is allowing us to better serve our guests like never before. For example, if Mr. Smith is booked to stay at The Pfister Hotel this weekend with a check-in on Friday the following could occur:

  1. Mr. Smith receives an email asking him if he would like to check-in on his mobile device one day ahead of time
  2. Mr. Smith is thrilled because he will be in a hurry when he arrives and cannot afford to waste any time during check-in
  3. Mr. Smith accesses the application for his check-in process and is offered an option to upgrade his room
  4. Mr. Smith purchases an upgraded room and selects that he would like to add a club access amenity
  5. Mr. Smith enters a note that he prefers hypoallergenic sheets in his room
  6. Mr. Smith enters his estimated arrival time in the application
  7. Mr. Smith receives a notification upon landing in Milwaukee that his room is ready and waiting for him
  8. Desk agent greets Mr. Smith by name and offers him his room key upon his arrival
  9. Mr. Smith arrives in his upgraded room, enjoys hors d’ oeuvres in the Pfister Club and slumbers soundly in his allergen-free sheets
  10. Having low lunch reservations the next day, a notification is pushed to his device, urging Mr. Smith to enjoy lunch on property, with a possible promotion
  11. Mr. Smith dines at the Mason Street Grill and enjoys it immensely, vowing to return
  12. After enjoying a delightful stay in Milwaukee, Mr. Smith receives a special survey regarding his experience checking in on the mobile application

So … That is How it Works, But Does it Work?

During our limited soft launch that included only loyalty and frequent guests we saw a roughly 20% online check-in rate. (We expect that this rate should increase when the service is offered to all of our guests.) 24% of guests who checked-in using the application chose to upgrade their room when offered, therefore generating an increase in revenue. Guest feedback to the process has been 100% positive.



Percentages are in respect to the first week and half of use offered to loyalty and frequent guests at The Pfister Hotel. Learn more about CheckMate.

Marcus Hotels & Resorts Receives Prestigious Interactive Media Award


Grand Geneva Resort & Spa website and Kil@Wat website recognized in the 12th Annual Horizon Interactive Awards Competition

Milwaukee, Wis., May 2, 2014. . . . . Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), today announced that it won two web design awards from the Horizon Interactive Awards, a leading international interactive media awards competition that recognizes the year’s “best of the best” in interactive media production.

The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa website,, won a gold award in the travel and tourism category and the InterContinental Milwaukee’s premier restaurant, Kil@Wat, won a bronze award for its website,, in the restaurant and food industry category. Both websites were developed and created by the Marcus Hotels & Resorts development team. Entries were judged on solution creativity and originality; graphic design, appearance and user experience; communication of message; technical merit and effectiveness of solution.


“Our internal development team manages nearly 100 websites for our hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas and loyalty program. These awards recognize their creative talent and outstanding work in providing an exceptional digital user experience for our customers,” said Christine Beuchert, senior director, marketing and ecommerce strategy for Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

“One of the challenges we faced with Kil@Wat’s website was to attract local residents and raise awareness of the restaurant and its location, as the hotel restaurant lacks an easily visible street level entrance. We achieved our goal of drawing locals in to dine, along with hotel guests, by having a responsive design that works on all mobile devices and tablets, and an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy during the rebuild of the website. As a result of these efforts, we achieved a 44% increase in the percentage of local visitors to the website and achieved a 944% increase in website traffic,” said Jessica McCoy, web project coordinator, Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

The 12th annual international competition saw over 1,600 entries from 24 countries around the world and nearly all 50 states in the U.S. An international panel of judges, consisting of industry professionals with diverse backgrounds, as well as an end-user panel, evaluated categories ranging from online advertising to mobile applications. The 2013 winning entries showcase the industry’s best interactive media solutions including web sites, mobile applications, print media, interactive displays, public exhibits, online advertising, video, email and more.

“The 2013 competition is undoubtedly one of the best showcases of outstanding interactive media in our long competition history,” said Mike Sauce, founder of the Horizon Interactive Awards. “Providing multiple forms of digital media platforms into a single interactive experience continues to be a trend. Entries have pushed the boundaries of traditional thinking in terms of expanded features, blended media, and integration of multiple marketing and technology channels. Winners in this year’s competition highlight the best blend of technology, cutting-edge thinking, outstanding user-experience and overall aesthetics.”

For more information visit the Horizon Interactive Awards online: For the latest news and updates from Marcus Hotels & Resorts, please visit

About the Horizon Interactive Awards
Now in its 12th year, the Horizon Interactive Awards was created to recognize excellence in interactive media production worldwide. Since 2001, the competition has received tens of thousands of entries from countries around the world and nearly all 50 U.S. states. Each year, those entries are narrowed down to the “best of the best” to be recognized and promoted on an international stage for their excellence. For more information, visit

About Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), owns and/or manages 18 hotels, resorts and other properties in 10 states. A force in the hospitality industry, Marcus Hotels & Resorts provides expertise in management, development and historic renovations. The company’s portfolio includes a wide variety of properties including city-center meeting hotels, upscale resorts and branded first-class hotels. For more information on the latest news and updates, please visit: and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@MarcusHotels).