Lido de Paris

User Research

Interviews & Observation, Personas & User Journeys


01 Context

Evolving in the Show Industry

 Le Lido is a Parisian auditorium offering spectacular cabaret evening shows, alongside a restaurant service (the public attends the show while having dinner). The show includes many visual and stage effects, some borrowed from the circus industry. 

One of the current major issues of Le Lido is that it belongs to a traditional industry which has shown it struggles to  evolve. Even though a large audience still attends Le Lido shows every night, it has been slightly decreasing over the years while the competition with similar shows and other alternative luxury events is tougher and tougher. To be able to differentiate, Sodexo, the owner company of Le Lido, commissioned an in-depth customer research to analyze their pain points and opportunities. Another purpose of this research has been to explore ways in which Le Lido could digitalize their offer and service in order to seize new opportunities in terms of potential new sources of revenue.

This project was launched as a call of tender which West agency - whom I am working for as a UX designer - won. This work also formed the basis for my Master thesis in UX Design for Kingston University which I successfully completed with distinction.


02 Problem

Understanding the Current and Target Audience

Le Lido struggles to adapt to an evolving demand. Currently ticket sales represent only about 50% of the total auditorium capacity. The client’s objective is to increase this ratio to 80%. The client believes that they need to implement a digital strategy along with improving the experience itself to distinguish their offer from the rest of the competition such as ‘Moulin Rouge’. They hope this may also attract a wider range of clients.

Cabaret shows are part of Paris’ history and culture. For the past few years, cabarets often changed significantly their offer in order to attract a more international audience which may have different needs and expectations. It was therefore important to define personas reflecting both current customers and new personas of future types of customers Le Lido want to attract.

The purchase of Le Lido by ‘Sodexo’ is relatively recent. Sodexo is a major facilities management multinational company. For this project, we worked both with the marketing representatives from Sodexo and the staff and management from Le Lido. Both parties quickly showed they had strong diverging views about the future of Le Lido and about the actions needed to improve the service and increase sales.


03 Approach

Gathering Staff members and Customers Feedbacks

We considered that approaching service design as a business strategy would be an effective way to convince Le Lido to trigger some changes they currently deliver their service - which they have been reluctant to do. As seen in the context analysis, the Parisian event and show field is quite a conservative one. The recent purchase of the company by Sodexo makes Le Lido’s board and staff being even more wary of any new strategy and changes in their operations. The service design approach allows different point of views and stakeholders to focus on a common cause which is the customers’ well-being.

For this, it is crucial to comprehend how servicesare perceived by customers. A service by its nature is an intangible and ubiquitous concept and the role of the designer is to make it perceived as tangible in both customers and staff members’ mind.


04 Aims & Methods

Service Design Methodology

Several methods and techniques were considered to understand on customers’ needs and what potential pain points or opportunities can be adjusted in the customer journey. 

The aims identified for this user research were to: 

- Define the different users, their respectives needs and create representative personas

- Analyse the customer journey of each persona and highlight pain points and opportunities

- Define a list of recommendations in response to this persona needs to improve the user experience

- Expand Le Lido digital communication and promotion to differentiate themselves from the competition

- Attract a younger and more local audience group while keeping the current customers base


We closely involved Le Lido’s staff into the research process for a range of reasons: to help them better define their needs and objectives, to gain access to the resourceful source of information they hold about Le Lido’s customers and importantly, to gain their approval and confidence about the project. With staff participating in the change ideation, the intention was that they would develop a sense of ownership and accept the transition they help to develop.


05 Personas

A Diverse and International Audience

The first workshop was about defining personas. The workshop focused on agreeing on a shared definition of the issue and on capturing a series of customers’ experiences.

We first theoretically defined as many “types” of customers as possible and then narrowed their number down to four personas and analysed their needs. Three personas were based on frequent customers while the last persona represented the ideal local customer that Le Lido want to focus on in the future to diversify the current customer base.

These personas have strong differences in term of age, nationality, reasons to attend the show, budget, digital behaviour and knowledge about Le Lido. Because of this, they were identified as having very different needs and we strategically defined which kind of persona Le Lido wanted to focus on in order to prioritise potential solutions.


The next step of this first workshop was to carry out customers’ interviews in situ. The objective was to confirm the realism of the personas defined earlier. We identified some minor adjustments to make and realistics details to add by recording quotes from real customers during their experience at Le Lido. To analyse the type of customers attending the show, we both observed and interviewed them to obtain characteristics information such as their nationalities, the reason for their presence, the people they came with.


06 Customer Journeys

Pain Points and Opportunities

We then organised a second workshop with all staff members focusing on customer journeys. An important outcome of this workshop is that it  brought every member of staff, from both Le Lido and the owning company Sodexo, to work together.  For example, Le Lido’s director may have worked with a dancer or a marketer from Sodexo with Le Lido’s maître d’hôtel. They jointly were asked to gather as much information as possible to imagine customers experience scenarios and think about how to improve them. Staff members recognised many unseen opportunities and ideas of improvement which they never had the time or room to express. 


The first part of the workshops focused on the analysis of the customer journey before the show covering the way customers gathered information, booked their tickets, , transportation and the reception and cloakroom. The second part described the journey during and after the show including being placed at the table, ordering drinks, the show itself, going to the souvenir shop or exit.


07 Digital Strategy

Recommendations and Prioritisation

To define a digital strategy, we first needed to list and prioritise all opportunities including the definition of a digital artefact. To prepare this last work session with the client (Sodexo/Lido), we designed the list of opportunities in the shape of a table so that everyone could vote for the ideas that seems the most interesting and feasible for them.

We sorted out the listing by category to clearly see which members of staff would be involved in the change. The opportunities were categorised as “Human factor” where they were related to direct contact with customers (e.g. service at the bar, welcome from a maître d’hôtel); “Offer” which included opportunities about the service or product themselves (e.g. ticket price, VIP room, souvenir shop merchandising); “Physical artefact” which included all the print promotion (e.g. ticket, flyer design or tote bag); and finally “Digital artefact” which included any digital strategy or product (e.g. tablet application, ticket machine, VR experience)

One particular aspect we encountered during this research was the opportunity for using digital artefact to counter-balance for the lack of room, to avoid crowds or to counter some gaps in the service which could not be fulfilled due to a lack of human resources capacity.


08 Personal Contribution

Roles and Team Organisation

For this project, I was part of the observation and interview team. I went to the Lido to see a night show and experience the diner service. I interviewed the customers as well as the staff members. It was very important to comprehend the challenges they were facing inside their work environment and during their work hours. Later on, I have been in charge of designing the templates used during the workshop in order to encourage the ideation process and I acted as a moderator during these workshops and ensured the participation of every person, a high level of involvement and a collaborative environment. Finally, I reported this research process and results to both clients and colleagues. The customer journeys and personas  were particularly appreciated by the marketing director board of Sodexo who expressed their want to collaborate further to develop digital solutions.


09 What’s Next

Supporting Staff members' Work with Digital Solutions

The research project described here was the first part of an overall larger project. The next steps will be to define a number of digital interfaces Sodexo wants to invest in, to design and test them as well as applying the recommendations to the user journeys and settings of the auditorium to improve the customers experience. A second phase of research will be to test if those improvements are well received by both customers and Lido’s staff members.