SOCO builds a scalable software testing practice for Thon Hotels with mabl


Thon Hotels' digital transformation demanded that SOCO scale testing for complex customer journeys.


80% less time running manual regression test cases


Automated smoke tests reduced bugs found in production


Automated tests are integrated with Azure DevOps pipelines

Few industries have experienced disruption like hospitality and retail in recent years. The pandemic shuttered routine operations for over a year, only to see customers expecting a digital-first experience that placed a premium on convenience and reliability in 2021 and 2022. The result is an industry racing to create streamlined online experiences that cater to users planning a much needed break. 

Thon Hotels, one of Norway’s largest hospitality companies, has navigated this shifting reality with help from SOCO, a speciality IT consulting firm focused on software testing, and web development consultants Epinova. SOCO has collaborated with mabl for over three years as part of their effort to scale testing across Thon Hotels’ growing digital footprint. Together, SOCO, Epinova, and Thon Hotels are producing quality digital experiences for customers accustomed to Thon Hotels’ high standard of service. 

Simple Test Creation and Management Empowers a Small Team

SOCO Senior Test Manager Kjetil Gjelsten began using mabl for Thon Hotels back in 2018. Even then, Kjetil could see the value in mabl’s simple low-code user interface that made test creation much faster. Thon Hotels needed a test automation solution that could help their small test team improve test coverage by expanding automated regression testing to cover the entire customer journey through the Thon Hotels’ website, including their online reservation system and corresponding email communications.  

The SOCO team supporting Thon Hotels initially consisted of just Kjetil, with Rajanan Ratneshan joining later, another testing consultant from SOCO. Even though both are software quality and testing experts, mabl’s simple low-code user interface enabled Kjetil and Raj to quickly create automated tests of the manual regression test suites they were maintaining. Working closely with Epinova’s team of frontend developers, backend developers, scrum master, designers, and app developers, SOCO was able to build a testing strategy that supported Thon Hotel’s evolving digital presence. Perhaps even more importantly, intelligent features like autohealing tests meant that they could expand their software testing strategy without spending a significant amount of time updating and maintaining tests.

Easily automating tests became even more essential when trainee Katrine Nerhus Larsen joined the SOCO testing team last year. Though she was relatively new to quality assurance and automated software testing, mabl’s intuitive design made it easy for Kjetil and Raj to bring her up to speed on Thon Hotel’s software testing needs. Together, the team now spends 80-90% less time on running their manual regression test cases. Instead of spending several days running the manual regression tests, Kjetil, Raj, and Katrine can now run the same number of test cases within a very brief time period. This allows the SOCO team to focus on testing new features and functions, as well as keep pace with the increasing number of deployments to both test and production environments.

Managing a Growing Customer Journey

Today, Thon Hotel guests can book their trips online, manage reservations, and even check in and check out online through the use of Thon Hotel´s own mobile app. They have also recently introduced a new functionality that allows guests to access their room with a digital key - skipping the traditional stop in the hotel lobby. Maintaining quality across these functionalities is central to every guest’s experience at each Thon Hotels property.

“Testing is critical to maintaining a seamless customer experience that upholds Thon Hotels’ high standard of service, said Oddvar Kruse, CIO / IKT Direktør at Thon Hotels. “SOCO has been a critical partner in helping our digital services adapt to our guests’ expectations for safety and hospitality.”

Post-2020, many guests exclusively experience the Thon Hotels brand through their online presence, making it essential to have a thorough quality strategy. Using mabl to automate GUI, regression, and email testing, the SOCO team has been able to increase test coverage, allowing Thon Hotels to confidently expand their digital customer experience without sacrificing quality or their trademark hospitality. 

Integrating Automated Testing into DevOps Pipelines

Thon Hotels’ digital presence is updated on two different schedules: the frontend is updated on a weekly basis, while the backend is updated several times per week. To manage quality on both fronts, the SOCO team has automated testing workflows embedded in their DevOps pipeline. Mabl is integrated with Slack, so that test results are automatically sent to the right team members. This makes it easy to quickly identify and resolve issues, helping Kjetil, Raj, and Katrine maximize their time across Thon Hotel’s growing digital experience. 

Mabl tests are also integrated with their Azure DevOps pipeline so test plans are triggered automatically, reducing the amount of lag created by human intervention. With a small team, SOCO needs to know that tests are reliably embedded in development pipelines, freeing up valuable people hours for expanding testing or performing high-impact manual testing. Automated smoke tests enable rapid feedback for reduced errors in production and greater reliability. Thanks to their expanded software testing strategy, the Thon Hotels website is now significantly more reliable with almost zero downtime, meaning guests can book a Nordic getaway the moment wanderlust strikes. 

Scaling Automated Testing Quickly and Confidently 

Navigating changing travel norms and maintaining a sterling reputation for hospitality is no easy feat, but Thon Hotels has done so easily with support from the SOCO team and mabl. Though Kjetil, Raj, and Katrine are managing a growing digital experience for every Thon guest, mabl is allowing them to efficiently and confidently expand testing. Guests are guaranteed to have a quality experience no matter where they go - Norway, Sweden, Brussels, Rotterdam, or the Thon Hotels website.

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