The Rise of the New Connected Cruise

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As 24/7 voice and data connectivity has become a cultural expectation, cruise lines have innovated within the difficult constraints of their operating environment, producing solutions that enhance the …

As 24/7 voice and data connectivity has become a cultural expectation, cruise lines have innovated within the difficult constraints of their operating environment, producing solutions that enhance the consumer experience and drive brand penetration.

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  • 1. The Rise of the New Connected Cruise As 24/7 voice and data connectivity has become a cultural expectation, cruise lines - straints of their operating environment, pro- ducing solutions that enhance the consumer experience and drive brand penetration. SKIFT REPORT #15 2014 This material is protected by copyright. Unauthorized redistribution, including email forwarding, is a violation of federal law. Single-use copy only. If you require multiple copies, contact us at trends@skift.com.WWW.SKIFT.COM
  • 2. Get the twice-monthly Skift Trends Report for the latest intelligence on the travel industry. Each edition in our new series of reports will brief you on a specific trend, providing insight into the current state of the market, the con- text around the trend, and where the industry is heading in the near future. After you subscribe, you will receive 24 reports direct to your inbox for an entire year. Reports are delivered as a downloadable PDF. Subscrib- ers also receive access to our archive. For any comments or questions, email us: trends@skift.com. Subscribe and check previous reports at: Skift.com/travel-trends. Subscribers have access to the Trends Report archives for the issues covered in his or her subscription Subscribe to the Skift Trends Report
  • 3. Table of contents Skift is a travel intel- ligence company that services to professionals in travel and professional travelers, to help them make smart decisions about travel. Skift is the business of travel. Visit skift.com for more. 3 4 6 A Chicken in Every Pot, a Smartphone in Every Pocket 7 Connectivity in an Unconnected Environment 7 Building Speed, Building Brand 9 11 12 Disney’s Pay-per-Megabyte Solution 13 14 16 Norwegian’s iConcierge 16 Costa’s My Costa Mobile 17 Royal Caribbean’s Royal Connect 17 Disney’s Wave Phones 18 Interactive Onboard Media 18 19 21 The Rise of the New Connected Cruise SKIFT REPORT #15 2014 5
  • 4. Water, water everywhere . . . and not a cell tower in sight. For cruise lines, the past 15 years have been a period of constant evolution around customer-facing communications and informa- tion technologies. Rapid advances in hardware and software have coupled with light-speed consumer adoption of these technologies to produce a wholesale cultural paradigm shift: from a pay phone in every neighborhood to a smartphone in every pocket, in the blink of an historical eye. Where travelers once boarded cruise ships with the expectation of complete communications blackout from their daily lives, they now board with the expectation of total 24/7 con- nectivity — nevermind that they’re bobbing on the ocean, hundreds of miles beyond range of the nearest networks. Executive summary The Rise of the New Connected Cruise SKIFT REPORT #15 2014 3
  • 5. To meet customer expectations and drive brand penetration, cruise lines and their third-party service providers are innovating commu- nications and information technologies within a set of constraints that have no parallel in the land-based resort business. They’re pushing beyond the traditional satellite-based systems that have long limited connectivity and bandwidth at sea. They’re de- veloping mobile applications that facilitate easy communication between guests on today’s plus-size ships. They’re deploying pat- tern and shape recognition technologies to measure the crowds at restaurants and other onboard venues, then beaming that informa- tion to guests via interactive signage around the ship. And they’re leveraging the phenomenal penetration of mobile devices among guests to bring new information, entertainment, and sales solutions online without the need for multi-million dollar refits of existing vessels. For cruise lines, today’s customer-facing IT landscape is tightrope walk between satisfying guest expectations, maintaining sustain- able return on investment, predicting future trends and consumer demands, and finding workarounds to one of the most challenging communications environments faced by any of the world’s indus- tries. The payoff? Happy customers equipped to broadcast their happiness to the world. Introduction The Rise of the New Connected Cruise SKIFT REPORT #15 2014 4