Cruising the Digitally Re-Imagined Seas
Author: Jorge Agnese
August 7, 2019
The top cruise lines are digitally re-imagining the entire cruise experience – from start to finish – to create more personalized, out-of-the-box and futuristic experiences for their guests. As technology becomes more intertwined into people’s everyday routine, the expectation that it will be used to enhance their travel experiences is growing.
Let’s consider a typical day on a cruise ship. It might start with guests ordering and enjoying breakfast delivered in bed through IoT and Intelligent Navigation. Next, they find Alex, the robot that leads them through their planned activities for the day. To finish off the day, guests order food and drinks with the tap of their phone to enjoy by the pool as they preview the excursions they have planned for the next day using virtual reality headsets.
Sounds impressive, right? The cruise industry is in a constant competitive race and the cruise line who offers the very best customer experiences will come out on top.
In a previous blog Customer Experience for Cruise Lines Starts Long Before Boarding we took you through how providing superb customer experiences in the planning stages of travel can make cruise-goers loyal customers. Today, we’ll dive into the actual trip.
Points of Views During Travel
The possibilities to provide the ultimate customer experience while cruising are endless. Let’s take a look at eight points where cruise guests can have their experience enhanced through digital innovation:
- Arriving at the Cruise Port – Arrival is one of the most exciting parts of going on a cruise. First impressions are everything at this stage, as initial interactions and experiences can set the stage for the entire vacation. Facial recognition, robotic process automation, and IoT devices are allowing employees to greet guests with personalization and optimize the entire welcoming process.
- Going Through Security – Just the thought of having to go through security lines induces frustration, but there is no getting around this necessary process when traveling. Digital innovation, for example, automated passport scanning technology, during security checkpoints speeds up the process and saves frustration.
- Checking In – At this stage, guests are getting closer to officially starting their trips and are anxious to move along. The pool or bar is waiting, after all. Traditionally, check-in processes have been slow, requiring multiple human interactions. Mobile applications are
expediting this process, promoting remote check-ins and providing guests additional options to enhance their journey – like booking excursions before you set sail.
- Attending Mustering – Onboard a cruise, mustering is the safety orientation that all guests must attend. The crowded deck of the ship is filled with vacationers as crew members shout out the safety protocols to follow while at sea. Making safety alerts and protocols accessible digitally can greatly reduce time spent mustering and move passengers through the drill quickly and efficiently.
- Exploring the Property – Let the fun begin! With today’s massive ships, deciding where to begin can be overwhelming. Intelligent navigation embedded in mobile devices is one digital solution that can guide guests through the property while providing a unique customer experience tailored to their specific preferences. Interactive technologies, like augmented and virtual reality, allow guests to experience activities (for example, shopping, pools, sports) beforehand and greatly enhances the customer experience.
- Starting to Enjoy the Experience – Most of the “work” is done. Arriving, security, check-in, safety drills – now it is time to enjoy the vacation! By optimizing Mobile apps, AI and IoT devices the first moments of the trip are made frictionless – no more carrying wallets and room keys or waiting for a drink, because it can all be done with an easy to use wearables.
- Being a Guest – Digital itineraries can help guests customize daily experiences and digital payments help expedite purchases on the ship. Voice and mobile app control are possible for everything from lighting to room service.
- Remembering the Experience – As guests conclude their journey, interaction and personalization are key in creating final, delightful experiences guests will remember and talk about for years to come. Digital innovation in IoT, AI, and analytics have led to new guest-centric features, including the ability to scan a guest’s digital itinerary and recommend last-minute activities. Or snapping pictures of guests via drone during their experiences, and digitally sending them as memories for guests on their final day. It is critical that in some shape or form, guests have something to tie them back to the exciting time they spent with your crew.
Customer experience, enabled by digital innovation, has transformed how consumers travel. Gone are the days of cruise guests being delayed by onboard processes, being unsure of amenities and excursions, and feeling disconnected from the rest of the world while they are away.