Emerging Trends in On-Board Cruise Experiences

Learn how to leverage innovations to transform and improve overall experiences

Craig: Good morning and welcome to our webinar, Emerging Trends in On-Board Cruise Experiences. My name’s Craig Sparks and I will be your host today. Today’s presenters for the webinar are Ashok Karania and Dipal Patel. Here’s a brief background on both.

Ashok Karania is an entrepreneurial leader with more than 16 years of senior management experience in strategy, sales, alliances, and client relations. He worked with Fortune 500 companies to startups to actualize new ideas in digital transformation and accelerate innovation. He has delivered success stories in high-tech FinTech telecom and retail industries using consultative solutions-driven approach. He’s also spearheading the global appliances and strategic plans for Infostretch.

Dipal Patel is a principal analyst here in Infostretch and loves to tinker with new ideas. He’s an experienced innovator, an expert in market analysis, and enjoys carving out products ad services for customers. Dipal has 12 years of experience in ideation, conceptualization, development, and implementation. He’s led a lab team in India and transformed next generation use cases into real solutions utilized by Fortune 500 companies. He’s contributed through thought leadership in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain, and mixed reality. He’s also authored a fiction book addressing cybersecurity and readers have loved it. Before we begin, let’s review some housekeeping items.

Firstly, this webinar is being recorded and will be distributed afterwards via email to allow you to share it with your colleagues, or watch it again later. Second, your line is currently muted. Lastly, please feel free to submit any questions during today’s webinar by utilizing this chat function at the bottom of your screen. We will try and answer all questions towards the end of our presentation. We would do our best to keep this webinar to the 45 minute time allotment. At this time, I would like to pass over the presentation to Ashok.

Ashok: About some of the emerging trends in onboarding experiences. As we all know, the whole cruise industry is going through massive changes. The innovation is on rise. The traveler’s profiles are changing. The evolution of digital is also something which is on the rise. All of these present great opportunities. Today, we are going to look at some of the emerging trends.

We start with the market information. We look at some of the possible solutions which are going to change the game for the industry. We look at some of the best innovations and implementation today by some of the cruise operators, and then end up with what should be the dos and the don’ts. If you look at the market for the cruise, as all of you know, and I don’t want to reiterate something which is a known knowledge, but the cruise market is broadly divided into three categories, cruise lines services, cruise-ferry services, and of course, the pure ferry services, which we see approachable.

The cruise line is further divided into sea cruise and the river cruises. Now, when we are researching and talking to the different cruise operators, the different analysts, what we saw is a big shift towards river cruises, big shift towards frequent and small cruise experiences. People are no longer waiting for the large voyages in the industry. In terms of the market spending, we could clearly see this industry growing at almost about 5%. We should be looking at about $50 billion spent at the end of 2019.

The travelers are also increasingly very fast and we see a big shift in the South Asia, Asia, and the APEC region. The North American and the European markets are the mature market, but the high growth is going to come from the eastern part of the world. We also see the cruise travelers getting younger and younger. I’m sure some of you would see the name of your own cruise companies on the screen There are a lot of new cruises, new ships coming out in the market. I’m sure everyone had saw that fantastic video from Virgin and from those other cruise operators which show the new possibilities which are there. New ships are in opportunity to demonstrate the innovation, the new ships started opportunity to connect with young cruise travelers and, of course, more revenue spent.

The persona of the cruise traveler is also changing as we spoke about. Traditionally, people in the income record of 90K to 150K have been spending on cruise experiences. As the people get younger and younger their primary purpose for cruise has changed from just relaxing they want to have new experiences. They want to distress themselves, they want to detox themselves.

They are also looking at having exotic experiences which include driving a Harley in Alaska or maybe spending time in some small villages when they embark on some small foods. They don’t mind spending on experiences. Mind you this is a generation Gen X, millennials for whom the experience counts who are more driven by unique experiences rather than ownership and they don’t mind spending.

I’ve mentioned to you that we have also seen a big trend towards smaller but frequent travel and that is also reflected in the cruise experience. The digital portion for the trips which are less than a week is much much higher. While we’re talking to different analysts, while we’re talking to the different cruise operators one thing came out very clearly, the overall customer experience is very important and it needs to change.

Many of the travelers don’t have a very contemporary experience of the cruise industry as compared to other travel modes. Everyone flies these days, when they compare it as another mode of transport they see it as a little outdated. Mind you, cruise and ferry are supposed to be a superior luxury experience. Their expectations are also a notch higher for these experiences.

When we looked at some of the existing cruise players, one thing which was very appalling and I had to really double-check my facts to see that nearly 50% of the cruise line companies and ferry companies did not have a mobile App. Those who had a mobile App had a very simplistic booking engine. It looked really like just a transactional App which did not leverage the possibilities of the digital experience.

No wonder the customers have a outdated image of the industry. If you are a cruise operator, if you are a digital expert or if you’re operations head at a cruise these are the important criterions for you. This is no new knowledge, everyone want us to make more money but can we make money through different new channels? What about boats? What about chats? What about kiosk on the ship?

How can we improve the overall customer experience in a various sectors our way, with a friction-less way. How can we ensure that my cruise has a superior brand and a digital experience? People are moving towards cloud as we have seen in the traditional IT and the digital environment. Today is about Pay-as-you-go model rather than ownership one.

I’ve summarized all the observations which we had in terms of the challenges cruise company executive or operators cases. What we have seen is it’s a huge tankers the main process to onboard the guests. Imagine if you’re looking at a three-days by the ship, if you’re spending two to three hours just boarding embarking and disembarking the guests, it’s significant time lost.

There’s a very less amount of personalization which happens, there are very less insights which are there in play. People want to pay as seamlessly as they pay for that coffee at Starbucks or they pay for that cab on Uber. Invisible, quick, friction-less. They expect the same experience on the cruise nowadays. They are also looking at better interaction with their fellow passengers while they are on board.

If you look at all this, what is required is integrated solution rather than having disjoint experience, people expect of connected, wholesome experience while they’re on a cruise. The channel of the communication whether it is mobile, whether it is a board, whether it is a variable, they’re looking at a holistic solution. Based on some of the discussions we had with our customers, with our partners, we work with a lot of partners and I mentioned some of those in the future lines, we came across a reference solution or reference architecture which is available, easy to implement and is one of the interesting solutions.

We just created a great wall factor among our various organizations. At this point of time, I invite my co-host for the session and a cruise industry expert, Dipal, who has been working with the various cruise come within consulting and helping them to migrate to digital. After that, we come back to some of the practices which other cruise operators are functioning today in the market and the future possibilities. Dipal, over to you.

Dipal: Thanks, Ashok. Hi, all. Let me just show you one of the reference solutions. As Ashok has rightly mentioned, that right now, the travel profile is basically they have a very good digital quotient as they are traveling across the globe. They expect the same kind of seamless experience that will happen even with the cruise also. If I travel through cab in case of Google or if it is traveling through a flight, I should be not handling through a lot of paper rather than I should have something which is in my hand.

Here, I just show you one scenario. Ruth, she’s basically the person who loves to travel a lot. She has actually done the booking and her cruise is going to start around nine days from now. First thing, she’ll see– This new experience will be completely a reversed countdown which will talk about what her journey would be. Not only that, she doesn’t need to wait in a queue while every time of the embarkation rather she can control her boarding from here. She can do the check-in not only for her, but she can do it for her friends also.

In the current ticket, Ruth has along with her there are three more friends. Say for example, if she decides that she wants to do the check-in for all the guests. Now, this particular based on the different cruise company. Different screens can be designed on different experience can be designed. The point here is Ruth will have complete control in her hand from the perspective of the check-in. The same then the cruise company will know all the information in beforehand and cruise company doesn’t need to go through a lot of paper bill in their notation, rather than the things are already done.

Ruth will be allowed to embark just showing a bar code of the boarding pass. Let me just quickly fill it. I’d show you the next step. The next step will be she can actually put in the information about her arrival and the departure and from which flight or from which mode she’s going to come, which mode she’ll be departing. She can actually enter the onboard expenses account. She doesn’t need to carry the card. She doesn’t need to go for different currency exchanges rather everything will be controlled through the mobile application.

That’s a trend that you have seen that the people basically wants to go for a seamless experience where their mobile is a wallet rather than they want to wait for the card or the currency exchanges or any kind of transparencies. Those issues we can eliminate from here. Let me go ahead with this. Ruth basically agreed to all the conditions and not only for her, but also for the friends who are traveling with her.

Then quickly the boarding pass will be generated and the boarding pass will have all the QR code which is 2D scanning. Any 2D scanner can lead her at the time of the embarkation. Gone are the days where people have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes, hustle through a lot of the people and ultimately when their turn comes in, they are actually provided a lot of options.

Now, let me show what happens when she’s onboard. When she’s onboard, now we have the capability to– A lot of cruise companies are showing that they can basically know where you are. Not in a scary way but the providing the solution in a more personalized way. Right now, it shows the deck line and the blue dot shows where Ruth’s currently located. She’s right now at the fitness center and where she is, something which are near to her, like the exotic dining.

She can go to the restaurant and she can find dining there or she can attend two different events, whichever of her like, like Seaside Theater or Freedoms Of The Night. This is a contextually-aware information that is provided to the consumer and that basically gives a lot of personalized touch to the traveler. At the same time, from the cruise company they know that who are where and they can push up some good offers and messages too. Let me show the card here. This card is a virtual card given to them. It’s a charge card, so this phone can be also used to control the lock and unlock of the door, then camping doors.

Also, the card basically can be used for even their transactions also. Now, she can, basically do a lot of things like she can book the dining in advance. She can actually go for an activity of her. Let me show what happens if she decides to go for an activity with her friends also. She can actually- doesn’t need to go through this counter and go through lot of brochures and check for the people. This thing rather than that, she can see what are the things she can do today, tomorrow or on a specific day while she is on all the groups. Ruth is actually adventure-liking person. She, for example, she decides that she wants to go for a hiking adventure and that is for the rainforest.

By clicking that, she’ll have all the information in her hand. Not only the highlights and what other things should be there but also, she can know what other things are now not part of that activity. She will have all control on that. While booking it, she can not only do the booking for her but also she can do the booking for her friends also. For example, if she decided that Ruth herself and Jose, who is her friend, also wants to join that party of doing the hiking adventure. Say, for example, they got the promo code, which they have already received because of, they were the loyal customer, so the discount will be applied automatically and she’ll do the payment.

Now, when we are providing the seamless experience, we also have to see from the security aspect also. Ruth should be in control of all the transaction, so there is one layer of the security, which basically checks whether that Ruth is doing the transition of or not. a verification code or the fingerprint based scanning will be imported here. That allows the transaction to happen on a secured way. Now, I am just entering the verification code just to let the system to know that it’s Ruth herself, and that transition is done. It’s as seamless as that.

Gone are the days that you get all surprises when you actually do some of the cruise, and see that whether I’ve actually done the expenses or not, but rather, you can check all the transactions from here. it shows you that what actually you have done. Here, it not only shows the remaining amount in the card or balance, but rather, it shows also that what bookings she here has done. She has done actually €179 of the booking. Also, the initial authorization, which has happened at the time of check-in that we have shown, and that €200 are actually authorized, and that’s blogged is that particular card that she has used.

Not only that but from the cruise line perspective, making the customers more loyal, the loyalty system also needs to be important to that. Now, you can see that she is now having 1,516 points and she can actually redeem that also. From the consumer part, it’s like they get the discount, but also at the same time, from the tools part, they can actually have more of the loyal customers also. Now, let me show you that what happens if somebody has actually earned this much of the points.

Now, let me check the special offers. From the offers perspective, that is a Portland Restaurant. There was a 25% off on the bill but as I said, to make the customer more loyal, how about redeeming those points? Now, who doesn’t need to pay for €90, minus 45% off, but rather than she can also redeem her points. Now, she can actually avail this offer and 31, discount. Now, she decides to avail the offer. She can decide a specific time and she can do the payment for that. She just have to pay 31.

Right now, it will not allow because her wallet is of a low balance. That means she has to actually do the top-up. Now, top-up, she doesn’t need to go through different counters and figure out how she can do that. Rather this particular way, she can actually just do in few clicks and she’ll be able to do. Now, we all know that on the cruise ships, the internet connectivity is an issue. Everything right now, you are seeing can happen through the intranet but the point here is when it comes to the authorization, it will actually call to the payment gateway and will figure out that €100 needs to be blogged or authorize in that particular card.

This is a typical process for any of the card to be transaction to happen. We have all, like the one layer of the security always makes sense. This time I will do the finger print scanning, and her card is telling that top-up the €100. This is just to show that the seamless experience is a trend for all the digitally quotient travelers, which are now growing like anything. All the millennials and the Generation-X love to have a seamless experience there. Not only that, they also love to do the peer to peer chat here.

Ruth, if she wants to do the chat with any of her friends, now, you can see that Jose, actually Richard and Trisha, all are there. She can even actually go into the transaction with them by talking to them in terms of deciding that where to have a food or which activity to go for and all that. Jose might have got the pin for that. Also the small, small part that she can control all the bookings and everything, the ultimate objective is Ruth should be in control of each and every part of the bookings, transaction, et cetera.

There is something that we have seen. Right now, it is more coming in the mainstream part of it and that’s how the cruise industry is growing. Behind the scene, the cruise can have a lot of data and they can basically provide the personalized experience to their customers. This was just about the reference application. I would now ask my co-host, Ashok Karania, to actually walk us through the different trends right now prevailing in the market.

Ashok: Thank you. Thank you, Dipal. That was very, very wonderful and exciting. I think I just wanted to point out, this is just a reference solution, a reference architecture. Whether you are a big cruise company or you are a small cruise operator, there are a lot of small operators, small ferries. In fact, this is a solution which is more handy, more useful, more pragmatic for them because they don’t need to invest in the big IT system. This is available in a very, very easy to integrate, easy to deploy methodology. They can take the benefit of all the innovations, which are out there in the market. That’s the beauty of today’s digital world.

Whether you are a Royal Caribbean or whether you’re a small ferry operator, you can take advantage of the same technologies and innovation which are out there in the market. Without further ado, let me move on to the next part, which is the sum of the current innovations, which have already been deployed in the market. I’m sure if you are from the cruise industry, you would have heard of this but it’s a good recap as well. I think one of the things which is becoming very, very obvious today is variables. We see a big fraction of the variables in the market. I think Royal Caribbean has introduced small bands on their cruisers.

The bands follow and help in four different scenarios which is digital identity, access payments, and loyalty. They help in those four scenarios. Accessing your stateroom, paying for all the onboard purchases. Is it something which is very handy. If you are at the casino and you want to order the beer or if you are at the gym and then want to buy something though you could do that using the band, you can access the different areas on the cruise ship using this band. No need to carry your wallet, keys, cards in the pocket. Similar thing has been done by MSC Cruises these days. They have a dedicated app and a bracelet.

The interesting thing which I saw was there’re more than 16,000 sensors on the ship itself. Taking care of the guests, tracing them and helping them to deliver services to get exactly where they’re located becomes very, very easy. When you order for that french fries for your child, understand that it will be delivered to you. You can also pretty much locate the child if they have gone missing while playing and you want to trace them you can do that. Again, the usual functions of State Room Access payments identity are fulfilled by these variables.

One of the biggest projects and one of the pioneers was the Ocean Medallion, a project which has received a lot of media coverage as well. A billion dollar plus investment which has gone in this solution. As I was saying, you can do it with less zeros as well because there’s the power of the technology available to everyone. One of what we really liked on Ocean Medallion apart from the excess, the payment, and the identity was little nuance of little small innovations which they did. One was of the digital photo wall. While you approach the wall while you’re on the ship, the wall would change to show your pictures from the cruise. It induces you to buy those and then also have a great experience.

Our friends near Europe have already implemented the friendly robot. The robot help in giving you all the information about the ship, making changes. They are the friendly concierge for you available anywhere everywhere. There are also a lot of other ideas which are gaining ground. Something like the free boarding option where you can upload your photographs and receive digital boarding information. You can update your variables on Ocean Medallion to the kind of features you should have. One is what should be the size et cetera. We wanted to ensure that it is the hassle-free experience. When you board the ship it knows you, it guides you to the right direction, it gives the right vouchers on the band.

A lot of hassle is taken care of and you get a stress-free relaxation and enjoyment. That is what you embarked the cruise for. Now let’s look at what are the other possibilities which are available. These are the innovations which have been implemented and are now being adopted by other players. There are also new possibilities which can be adopted by everyone. Whether you are a small yacht, whether you’re a cruise, whether you’re a river ferry company, you can look at this solution. Back to my co-host Dipal to guide us through this section of the webinar. Dipal.

Dipal: Thank you, Ashok. I think you know about the large player in the cruise market so far dominating in this space. They have basically actually created a lot of new technology solutions. What about if we carve out something which can be making more sense and here we should consider the internet connectivity and also considering that part that with the limited connectivity what can you. The cruise are tested and great. Now, we leave all in the body and the body right where it is, allows us to have the first level of interaction through the machines. Machines basically respond to us back.

That doesn’t take the humanity out of the picture but rather, they basically understand small and all to us and ultimately, provide us small personalized offering. Imagine a scenario, I think Jose, our Ruth’s friend, if he is basically hungry, he doesn’t need to actually dial-in or just ask through any of the crew members and check or go through different dining options and what are there, and figuring out rather than just controlling through the phone itself and talking to the bot. He could just say that, “I’m hungry.” Based on the time of the day, the machine will learn that whether he’s asking for breakfast or a lunch or a dinner and appropriate options can showcase to him.

Not only that but once he picked up, a bot can also answer that, “Where do you want to get it delivered?” Because now we live in the era where MSC Cruise has just been using 15,000 bacons are actually implemented on the ship. That means they can exactly locate you, where you are. Instead of delivering just only to the cabin, which are the fixed state, rather than you can get the food to be delivered or your champagne to be delivered at the place where you are right now standing. That can be interesting and can happen here. Also at the same time, you can also control or you can physically, check for different excursions, spa, and also different events which are happening in the mall.

Now, let’s look at the front innovation that we do it in a slightly more matured. Facial recognition is something that has come in the mainstream, post the iPhone has actually launched the face recognition part. They do the 3D scanning and they allow you to understand but what if we physically know created a different event model and also, allow the people to be recognized? Not only that but also that can be used for the transaction. Why, as a cruise traveler, to carry the wallet or a bag or anything where the face itself is an identity? This becomes basically, more immersive experience for them. Not only that, once the face is recognized, crew member will also know that who the traveler is.

They can also on their screen, they can also check that this particular person, say, for example, that Jose comes and his face got recognized, they know that this particular person is of a team member, and what are the preferences of him. The crew member will be more prepared while basically satisfying the deeds of the Jose. It is just taking the service level to one more step ahead, just utilizing the technology in a proper way. Now, let’s go for the next thing. What is the next big thing can happen? We all know that people use the mobile application to unlock the cabin doors. What if the person himself becomes the identity? For example, Jose wants to under his cabin.

The typical process is either he use the charge card, swipe the cabin door and then he enter or the other way, if it is mobile enabled, he has to take out the mobile phone, just step on the key lock and then the cabin will be unlocked. What is the pattern– If every person has a unique work pattern, and if we utilize that work pattern along with the mobile accelerate what is what is going to happen is cabin door will know that whether this is the right phone that I am talking to and whether the person who is holding this particular phone, either in the hand or in the pocket, is the right person or not.

Once she gets that, she knows whether it is Jose or it is different person. Ultimately, what is going to happen is the door can be unlocked. Here a lot of mobile models come into the picture. That basically you can utilize as similarly as possible. This is a proven methodology that’s done by a lot of TechCrunch, Weiner, who has actually invented the system by just doing the transaction using the wall-pad.

Now, what if we basically know allow the AR experience because here gives you the immersive experience and what if my wait time or wherever I am ordering, I am actually informed the user that the plate which I am ordering is actually the one I intend to. Also, it gives you the more immersive experience while basically you are with the kids, you want to show them, you want to get the choices, et cetera. That becomes easier for you. Using just simply the tablet is ordering using the AR.

People will know from that and is they are ordering the thing or not. At the same time from the kitchen perspective, they know that what people right now actually listening to, they know that they can send the big data we can analyze, what other issues are in demand and what are the things cumulative that needs to be managed. Also the kitchen order tickets and on dissipation of the orders can also be predicted out of that. Everything can happen using the intranet other than the internet. Whatever the possibility we’re seeing so far, doesn’t require the internet connectivity but rather than utilizing the intranet and the ship mates have all the time to take care of these things.

I think that this one is basically dear to almost everyone’s heart, we have seen that you know the Alexa and Google Home and now it’s coming in a mainstream that the voice is becoming new identity acting as a control of a lot of the interfaces. People are now moving away from the digital interfaces rather than– when I say digital I mean more the visual part of it rather than you taking control through the voice. What if you got an assistant itself sitting in your cabin in a non-intrusive way and when you basically use the command and that’s particularly suited to you.

I’m not talking about here is the Alexa or Google Home implementation because they require internet but I am talking about the system that is developed which doesn’t require the internet but you can work on the intranet basically on every model. They are basically you know called out by one of the big models which is basically happening in the Alexa so when you say Alexa it actually gets activated. It’s also identifying a particular word and that particular system will be at your service.

When somebody is ordering in the dining, if the voice assistant start speaking the menu item it doesn’t make sense. Take the possibility to one mall here, each separate number of cabin has a television or a display unit already installed in the cabin, that will be basically showing you the food menu. If the voyager says, “Hey, I’m hungry,” the display unit will basically change and shows the menu items and the voyager by talking over the commands like next or select particular menu item and he can basically order.

Same goes for the activities he can browse through and can see from the display and so on and so forth. The possibilities are endless and just utilizing the technology you can actually learn more things. With this I’ll invite Ashok to just decide on how the right solution to be selected.

Ashok: Thank you once again Dipal. We are getting more and more excited with every cruise, what are the new technologies we will be looking at. Of course, there are a lot of new ideas out there in the market and there’s always a method in madness what to select. It has of course has to be in sync with your target audience who are your cruise travelers, what are they looking for, what are your existing IT investments et cetera. Let’s look at quick do’s and the don’ts while selecting the right solution for your company or your cruise organization. I am cognizant of the time so we’ll be spending about 10 minutes to leave a few minutes for the question and answer session which is the most interesting part for me and people here.

If you are looking at the overall guest experience, what the cruisers really want is seamlessness, is a great overall experience. Whether it is reducing the embarking time by having quit on boarding, by having quick access to the stateroom, offers of personalization to upgrade their cabin, helping them to socialize in the way they choose. If they choose to chat, if they want to socialize through word of mouth, let them do that. Also helping them with the right information in form of itinerary exertion booking which can be add-on, very handy to them and on their mobile screen is something which they look forward to.

What they definitely don’t look forward to is too much intrusion, don’t intrude into their privacy, don’t intrude on them, don’t bombard with them with too many information, don’t add any low value amenities because they are there for pleasure. They are there to enjoy so give it the right level of personalization and that’s where the solutions like bot is coming to the picture, that’s where the solution like chat or wearables come into picture.

They get triggered only when the guest wants it. What to do from a cruise organization, a yacht organization or ferry organization. You, of course, would be interested to reduce the cost of service or reduce the overall transaction cost and also get the footprint. This is what we should be looking at, how you can do more with less. You also don’t need to make additional or unnecessary investments in technology without checking the benefits. Also, don’t bombard the cruiser with too much of intrusive technology. Keep it simple as they say.

If we have to look at selecting the right solution, go for something with is simple, lightweight, it should not be a big infrastructure like some of the large ERP systems which are out there. All the large CRM systems don’t invest them because if the technology keeps on changing, the digital infrastructure is very fluid business. Select something which is lightweight, something which can be quickly implemented. I think one of the solutions which was shown by our expert Dipal can be implemented in 3-4 days. If you are looking at something to be implemented by middle of March, then that is the solution you want.

You don’t want to think about a solution which would take eight months to implement by the time a lot of changes happen in the industry. You want a solution which can easily integrate with your booking system. If you are using Oracle carers or any others booking engine, you want this to easily integrate or any other custom booking engine. It should easily integrate with your security system. It should easily integrate with your payment system. You should also look at something which is scalable because as I said, new technologies keep on coming to the industry.

There are a lot of new innovations which are being brought to the industry. Something which can be scalable and can build in a modular fashion is something which should be very, very interesting for you. Today’s digital world also brings a lot of vulnerabilities hence a solution which is secured which has a proper level of encryption and security standards implemented to protect the guest’s privacy, the payments et cetera are very, very important. I think one of the best ways which we have found working with a lot of customers is to start with small pilot projects. Look at doing workshops, having a small pilot project, implement on a few cruise, a few ferries and then roll it out across the entire organization.

That again is required something which is quick and easy to work with. What is the right solution? Right solution is a one solution which integrates all the different components for a cruise organization which provides easy onboarding, which gives you the loyalty option, which gives the guests ability to book dining, spa, excursion, which provides the opportunity for chatting with the fellow-travelers, giving the right feedback. For a cruise company a solution which can help them to improve their customer loyalty, improve the overall brand experience and also integrate very, very easily with their existing systems.

Selecting the right solution is no difficult task. It’s something which is easy as we can start with small pilots and look at the options which are available in today’s digital landscape. With this, not only you but your guests and everyone would have a smooth sailing. Thank you and we look forward to the question-and-answer session. Thank you for the opportunity to present our ideas and solutions. Thank you.

Craig: Thank you Ashok and Dipal. Is very interesting. It’s now time to answer some of your questions and as a reminder, you can use the chat function at the bottom of your screen to ask your question. We’ve already had a few questions coming already. To begin, you guys showed a demo solution. Is that available to the market?

Ashok: Yes. I think that demo solution is a different solution which readily available in the market. It’s a solution which has been implemented and in pilot at many cruise organizations. If you are interested in that please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to demonstrate the solution to you. Also, we do a lot of workshops with our prospectus, we’ll be more than happy to come down, sit with your team, do a quick two-day workshop and see how the solution can be implemented in your infrastructure. To cut a long story short, yes it’s available. It can be implemented.

Craig: Thank you, Ashok. We’ve got a second question here saying, “Thanks for the great webinar, we loved it. We’re thinking about some ideas, how do we start and what do we do next?”

Ashok: I think the answer to that was partly in the first response as well. I think there are two sets of things which can happen. One is to identify what are really your important goals. Are your goals to improve the onboard experience? Are your goals to improve the revenue? Are your goals to improve the operations of the cruise on the ferry line which you’re operating? The second part is to quickly do a workshop and that’s what I suggest. We sit down with you and tell about 14 to 15 different questions which have and that’s the questions which are jointly explored along with the cruise executives, digital executives, operations executives, marketing team and the on-sea team.

We look at identifying what are the right solutions for you. What are your existing IT investments? What are the existing booking systems you have? What is the timeline you’re looking at? What are your peak seasons? What are your downtimes? What are the number of passengers which ferry in? Then we help you to create a roadmap and also implement that roadmap and also show the ROI of the solution. I think the response to this question is, start with identifying a goal. Second is do a workshop and identify the roadmap for you. Even if you have to decide upon the future, the road workshop is a good idea that will determine the long term road map for your organization.

Craig: Thanks, Ashok. I think you might have answered this next question as well it’s already been asked as well slightly with that. The question is do we need to change our existing solutions, we’ve already had some existing solutions on board.

Ashok: Well, no. I don’t think so. I think it’s a highly individual solution. The beauty part is it has the flexibility, right? Like you’ve got a different financial system out of the main system you can find capabilities around that. Or you’ve got the different extensions inventory management, old and new inventory management. Those solutions definitely is very different with those entities.

You don’t need to change any underlying solutions that you right now have. At least you build on top of what you have to provide the better digital experience to your travellers. Also, you can reap the benefits of the correct public tools.

Just to add, I don’t want to diverge too much details about our customers, but they’ve been customers who have been using booking systems from Oracle, Cadence. These solutions built on top of the existing investments, they are the security agencies, the door locks. It can work with the existing IT systems which you have and sit on top of it. No need to change the overall system.

Craig: Great. We’ve got two more questions probably time for today. The second last one is how much time does it take to implement the solution?

Ashok: It actually depends upon the objectives that you have, but we have seen this solution if all the other pieces are in place, which is your booking system, your other systems are in place. We can implement the system in about three to four weeks, which is very easy. We have also done solutions, a little bit, from scratch. The solution has been built and deployed in about three to four months as well. If you are building everything from scratch, three to four months. If you’re looking at already existing systems which are there just invigorate them and make it light, I would say less than a month.

Craig: Fantastic. The last question we’re going to have time for today, do you have any solutions the cruise operations?

Ashok: When you mean operations I presume, we talked about the customer experience side today. Of course, a lot of solutions to manage the cruise operations from the cruise perspective, from the cruise operations perspective. People tend to more like the back-end solutions we have.

Dipal: Maybe if I understand correctly, the operations we’re having right now are related to the catering operations that we have. For example, you want the excursions to be managed, or you want your employees to be managed, you do that P&L system. Or how do you manipulate the dining? How much inventory you expose. Those rules, royalty and inventory management basically we do have a solution for that. To answer that, yes we have it but basically understand that in details, it will be very early to say that we know what we have to do.

Craig: Fantastic. Sadly, that’s all the questions we’re able to answer today. The things that we did not get to, we’ll be in touch after this webinar. Also, be sure to subscribe to DTVI a new digital transformation channel that brings in industry experts. Many thanks to our speakers, Dipal and Ashok. Thank you everyone for joining us today. You’ll receive an email in the next 24 hours with the slide presentation and a link to the webcast replay. If you have any questions about our cruise solutions, please contact us at info@infostretch.com or call us at +44 20 3865 7881 and speak with a member of the team. Thank you all and enjoy the rest of your day.

Learn how to leverage innovations to transform and improve overall experiences

Craig: Good morning and welcome to our webinar, Emerging Trends in On-Board Cruise Experiences. My name’s Craig Sparks and I will be your host today. Today’s presenters for the webinar are Ashok Karania and Dipal Patel. Here’s a brief background on both.

Ashok Karania is an entrepreneurial leader with more than 16 years of senior management experience in strategy, sales, alliances, and client relations. He worked with Fortune 500 companies to startups to actualize new ideas in digital transformation and accelerate innovation. He has delivered success stories in high-tech FinTech telecom and retail industries using consultative solutions-driven approach. He’s also spearheading the global appliances and strategic plans for Infostretch.

Dipal Patel is a principal analyst here in Infostretch and loves to tinker with new ideas. He’s an experienced innovator, an expert in market analysis, and enjoys carving out products ad services for customers. Dipal has 12 years of experience in ideation, conceptualization, development, and implementation. He’s led a lab team in India and transformed next generation use cases into real solutions utilized by Fortune 500 companies. He’s contributed through thought leadership in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain, and mixed reality. He’s also authored a fiction book addressing cybersecurity and readers have loved it. Before we begin, let’s review some housekeeping items.

Firstly, this webinar is being recorded and will be distributed afterwards via email to allow you to share it with your colleagues, or watch it again later. Second, your line is currently muted. Lastly, please feel free to submit any questions during today’s webinar by utilizing this chat function at the bottom of your screen. We will try and answer all questions towards the end of our presentation. We would do our best to keep this webinar to the 45 minute time allotment. At this time, I would like to pass over the presentation to Ashok.

Ashok: About some of the emerging trends in onboarding experiences. As we all know, the whole cruise industry is going through massive changes. The innovation is on rise. The traveler’s profiles are changing. The evolution of digital is also something which is on the rise. All of these present great opportunities. Today, we are going to look at some of the emerging trends.

We start with the market information. We look at some of the possible solutions which are going to change the game for the industry. We look at some of the best innovations and implementation today by some of the cruise operators, and then end up with what should be the dos and the don’ts. If you look at the market for the cruise, as all of you know, and I don’t want to reiterate something which is a known knowledge, but the cruise market is broadly divided into three categories, cruise lines services, cruise-ferry services, and of course, the pure ferry services, which we see approachable.

The cruise line is further divided into sea cruise and the river cruises. Now, when we are researching and talking to the different cruise operators, the different analysts, what we saw is a big shift towards river cruises, big shift towards frequent and small cruise experiences. People are no longer waiting for the large voyages in the industry. In terms of the market spending, we could clearly see this industry growing at almost about 5%. We should be looking at about $50 billion spent at the end of 2019.

The travelers are also increasingly very fast and we see a big shift in the South Asia, Asia, and the APEC region. The North American and the European markets are the mature market, but the high growth is going to come from the eastern part of the world. We also see the cruise travelers getting younger and younger. I’m sure some of you would see the name of your own cruise companies on the screen There are a lot of new cruises, new ships coming out in the market. I’m sure everyone had saw that fantastic video from Virgin and from those other cruise operators which show the new possibilities which are there. New ships are in opportunity to demonstrate the innovation, the new ships started opportunity to connect with young cruise travelers and, of course, more revenue spent.

The persona of the cruise traveler is also changing as we spoke about. Traditionally, people in the income record of 90K to 150K have been spending on cruise experiences. As the people get younger and younger their primary purpose for cruise has changed from just relaxing they want to have new experiences. They want to distress themselves, they want to detox themselves.

They are also looking at having exotic experiences which include driving a Harley in Alaska or maybe spending time in some small villages when they embark on some small foods. They don’t mind spending on experiences. Mind you this is a generation Gen X, millennials for whom the experience counts who are more driven by unique experiences rather than ownership and they don’t mind spending.

I’ve mentioned to you that we have also seen a big trend towards smaller but frequent travel and that is also reflected in the cruise experience. The digital portion for the trips which are less than a week is much much higher. While we’re talking to different analysts, while we’re talking to the different cruise operators one thing came out very clearly, the overall customer experience is very important and it needs to change.

Many of the travelers don’t have a very contemporary experience of the cruise industry as compared to other travel modes. Everyone flies these days, when they compare it as another mode of transport they see it as a little outdated. Mind you, cruise and ferry are supposed to be a superior luxury experience. Their expectations are also a notch higher for these experiences.

When we looked at some of the existing cruise players, one thing which was very appalling and I had to really double-check my facts to see that nearly 50% of the cruise line companies and ferry companies did not have a mobile App. Those who had a mobile App had a very simplistic booking engine. It looked really like just a transactional App which did not leverage the possibilities of the digital experience.

No wonder the customers have a outdated image of the industry. If you are a cruise operator, if you are a digital expert or if you’re operations head at a cruise these are the important criterions for you. This is no new knowledge, everyone want us to make more money but can we make money through different new channels? What about boats? What about chats? What about kiosk on the ship?

How can we improve the overall customer experience in a various sectors our way, with a friction-less way. How can we ensure that my cruise has a superior brand and a digital experience? People are moving towards cloud as we have seen in the traditional IT and the digital environment. Today is about Pay-as-you-go model rather than ownership one.

I’ve summarized all the observations which we had in terms of the challenges cruise company executive or operators cases. What we have seen is it’s a huge tankers the main process to onboard the guests. Imagine if you’re looking at a three-days by the ship, if you’re spending two to three hours just boarding embarking and disembarking the guests, it’s significant time lost.

There’s a very less amount of personalization which happens, there are very less insights which are there in play. People want to pay as seamlessly as they pay for that coffee at Starbucks or they pay for that cab on Uber. Invisible, quick, friction-less. They expect the same experience on the cruise nowadays. They are also looking at better interaction with their fellow passengers while they are on board.

If you look at all this, what is required is integrated solution rather than having disjoint experience, people expect of connected, wholesome experience while they’re on a cruise. The channel of the communication whether it is mobile, whether it is a board, whether it is a variable, they’re looking at a holistic solution. Based on some of the discussions we had with our customers, with our partners, we work with a lot of partners and I mentioned some of those in the future lines, we came across a reference solution or reference architecture which is available, easy to implement and is one of the interesting solutions.

We just created a great wall factor among our various organizations. At this point of time, I invite my co-host for the session and a cruise industry expert, Dipal, who has been working with the various cruise come within consulting and helping them to migrate to digital. After that, we come back to some of the practices which other cruise operators are functioning today in the market and the future possibilities. Dipal, over to you.

Dipal: Thanks, Ashok. Hi, all. Let me just show you one of the reference solutions. As Ashok has rightly mentioned, that right now, the travel profile is basically they have a very good digital quotient as they are traveling across the globe. They expect the same kind of seamless experience that will happen even with the cruise also. If I travel through cab in case of Google or if it is traveling through a flight, I should be not handling through a lot of paper rather than I should have something which is in my hand.

Here, I just show you one scenario. Ruth, she’s basically the person who loves to travel a lot. She has actually done the booking and her cruise is going to start around nine days from now. First thing, she’ll see– This new experience will be completely a reversed countdown which will talk about what her journey would be. Not only that, she doesn’t need to wait in a queue while every time of the embarkation rather she can control her boarding from here. She can do the check-in not only for her, but she can do it for her friends also.

In the current ticket, Ruth has along with her there are three more friends. Say for example, if she decides that she wants to do the check-in for all the guests. Now, this particular based on the different cruise company. Different screens can be designed on different experience can be designed. The point here is Ruth will have complete control in her hand from the perspective of the check-in. The same then the cruise company will know all the information in beforehand and cruise company doesn’t need to go through a lot of paper bill in their notation, rather than the things are already done.

Ruth will be allowed to embark just showing a bar code of the boarding pass. Let me just quickly fill it. I’d show you the next step. The next step will be she can actually put in the information about her arrival and the departure and from which flight or from which mode she’s going to come, which mode she’ll be departing. She can actually enter the onboard expenses account. She doesn’t need to carry the card. She doesn’t need to go for different currency exchanges rather everything will be controlled through the mobile application.

That’s a trend that you have seen that the people basically wants to go for a seamless experience where their mobile is a wallet rather than they want to wait for the card or the currency exchanges or any kind of transparencies. Those issues we can eliminate from here. Let me go ahead with this. Ruth basically agreed to all the conditions and not only for her, but also for the friends who are traveling with her.

Then quickly the boarding pass will be generated and the boarding pass will have all the QR code which is 2D scanning. Any 2D scanner can lead her at the time of the embarkation. Gone are the days where people have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes, hustle through a lot of the people and ultimately when their turn comes in, they are actually provided a lot of options.

Now, let me show what happens when she’s onboard. When she’s onboard, now we have the capability to– A lot of cruise companies are showing that they can basically know where you are. Not in a scary way but the providing the solution in a more personalized way. Right now, it shows the deck line and the blue dot shows where Ruth’s currently located. She’s right now at the fitness center and where she is, something which are near to her, like the exotic dining.

She can go to the restaurant and she can find dining there or she can attend two different events, whichever of her like, like Seaside Theater or Freedoms Of The Night. This is a contextually-aware information that is provided to the consumer and that basically gives a lot of personalized touch to the traveler. At the same time, from the cruise company they know that who are where and they can push up some good offers and messages too. Let me show the card here. This card is a virtual card given to them. It’s a charge card, so this phone can be also used to control the lock and unlock of the door, then camping doors.

Also, the card basically can be used for even their transactions also. Now, she can, basically do a lot of things like she can book the dining in advance. She can actually go for an activity of her. Let me show what happens if she decides to go for an activity with her friends also. She can actually- doesn’t need to go through this counter and go through lot of brochures and check for the people. This thing rather than that, she can see what are the things she can do today, tomorrow or on a specific day while she is on all the groups. Ruth is actually adventure-liking person. She, for example, she decides that she wants to go for a hiking adventure and that is for the rainforest.

By clicking that, she’ll have all the information in her hand. Not only the highlights and what other things should be there but also, she can know what other things are now not part of that activity. She will have all control on that. While booking it, she can not only do the booking for her but also she can do the booking for her friends also. For example, if she decided that Ruth herself and Jose, who is her friend, also wants to join that party of doing the hiking adventure. Say, for example, they got the promo code, which they have already received because of, they were the loyal customer, so the discount will be applied automatically and she’ll do the payment.

Now, when we are providing the seamless experience, we also have to see from the security aspect also. Ruth should be in control of all the transaction, so there is one layer of the security, which basically checks whether that Ruth is doing the transition of or not. a verification code or the fingerprint based scanning will be imported here. That allows the transaction to happen on a secured way. Now, I am just entering the verification code just to let the system to know that it’s Ruth herself, and that transition is done. It’s as seamless as that.

Gone are the days that you get all surprises when you actually do some of the cruise, and see that whether I’ve actually done the expenses or not, but rather, you can check all the transactions from here. it shows you that what actually you have done. Here, it not only shows the remaining amount in the card or balance, but rather, it shows also that what bookings she here has done. She has done actually €179 of the booking. Also, the initial authorization, which has happened at the time of check-in that we have shown, and that €200 are actually authorized, and that’s blogged is that particular card that she has used.

Not only that but from the cruise line perspective, making the customers more loyal, the loyalty system also needs to be important to that. Now, you can see that she is now having 1,516 points and she can actually redeem that also. From the consumer part, it’s like they get the discount, but also at the same time, from the tools part, they can actually have more of the loyal customers also. Now, let me show you that what happens if somebody has actually earned this much of the points.

Now, let me check the special offers. From the offers perspective, that is a Portland Restaurant. There was a 25% off on the bill but as I said, to make the customer more loyal, how about redeeming those points? Now, who doesn’t need to pay for €90, minus 45% off, but rather than she can also redeem her points. Now, she can actually avail this offer and 31, discount. Now, she decides to avail the offer. She can decide a specific time and she can do the payment for that. She just have to pay 31.

Right now, it will not allow because her wallet is of a low balance. That means she has to actually do the top-up. Now, top-up, she doesn’t need to go through different counters and figure out how she can do that. Rather this particular way, she can actually just do in few clicks and she’ll be able to do. Now, we all know that on the cruise ships, the internet connectivity is an issue. Everything right now, you are seeing can happen through the intranet but the point here is when it comes to the authorization, it will actually call to the payment gateway and will figure out that €100 needs to be blogged or authorize in that particular card.

This is a typical process for any of the card to be transaction to happen. We have all, like the one layer of the security always makes sense. This time I will do the finger print scanning, and her card is telling that top-up the €100. This is just to show that the seamless experience is a trend for all the digitally quotient travelers, which are now growing like anything. All the millennials and the Generation-X love to have a seamless experience there. Not only that, they also love to do the peer to peer chat here.

Ruth, if she wants to do the chat with any of her friends, now, you can see that Jose, actually Richard and Trisha, all are there. She can even actually go into the transaction with them by talking to them in terms of deciding that where to have a food or which activity to go for and all that. Jose might have got the pin for that. Also the small, small part that she can control all the bookings and everything, the ultimate objective is Ruth should be in control of each and every part of the bookings, transaction, et cetera.

There is something that we have seen. Right now, it is more coming in the mainstream part of it and that’s how the cruise industry is growing. Behind the scene, the cruise can have a lot of data and they can basically provide the personalized experience to their customers. This was just about the reference application. I would now ask my co-host, Ashok Karania, to actually walk us through the different trends right now prevailing in the market.

Ashok: Thank you. Thank you, Dipal. That was very, very wonderful and exciting. I think I just wanted to point out, this is just a reference solution, a reference architecture. Whether you are a big cruise company or you are a small cruise operator, there are a lot of small operators, small ferries. In fact, this is a solution which is more handy, more useful, more pragmatic for them because they don’t need to invest in the big IT system. This is available in a very, very easy to integrate, easy to deploy methodology. They can take the benefit of all the innovations, which are out there in the market. That’s the beauty of today’s digital world.

Whether you are a Royal Caribbean or whether you’re a small ferry operator, you can take advantage of the same technologies and innovation which are out there in the market. Without further ado, let me move on to the next part, which is the sum of the current innovations, which have already been deployed in the market. I’m sure if you are from the cruise industry, you would have heard of this but it’s a good recap as well. I think one of the things which is becoming very, very obvious today is variables. We see a big fraction of the variables in the market. I think Royal Caribbean has introduced small bands on their cruisers.

The bands follow and help in four different scenarios which is digital identity, access payments, and loyalty. They help in those four scenarios. Accessing your stateroom, paying for all the onboard purchases. Is it something which is very handy. If you are at the casino and you want to order the beer or if you are at the gym and then want to buy something though you could do that using the band, you can access the different areas on the cruise ship using this band. No need to carry your wallet, keys, cards in the pocket. Similar thing has been done by MSC Cruises these days. They have a dedicated app and a bracelet.

The interesting thing which I saw was there’re more than 16,000 sensors on the ship itself. Taking care of the guests, tracing them and helping them to deliver services to get exactly where they’re located becomes very, very easy. When you order for that french fries for your child, understand that it will be delivered to you. You can also pretty much locate the child if they have gone missing while playing and you want to trace them you can do that. Again, the usual functions of State Room Access payments identity are fulfilled by these variables.

One of the biggest projects and one of the pioneers was the Ocean Medallion, a project which has received a lot of media coverage as well. A billion dollar plus investment which has gone in this solution. As I was saying, you can do it with less zeros as well because there’s the power of the technology available to everyone. One of what we really liked on Ocean Medallion apart from the excess, the payment, and the identity was little nuance of little small innovations which they did. One was of the digital photo wall. While you approach the wall while you’re on the ship, the wall would change to show your pictures from the cruise. It induces you to buy those and then also have a great experience.

Our friends near Europe have already implemented the friendly robot. The robot help in giving you all the information about the ship, making changes. They are the friendly concierge for you available anywhere everywhere. There are also a lot of other ideas which are gaining ground. Something like the free boarding option where you can upload your photographs and receive digital boarding information. You can update your variables on Ocean Medallion to the kind of features you should have. One is what should be the size et cetera. We wanted to ensure that it is the hassle-free experience. When you board the ship it knows you, it guides you to the right direction, it gives the right vouchers on the band.

A lot of hassle is taken care of and you get a stress-free relaxation and enjoyment. That is what you embarked the cruise for. Now let’s look at what are the other possibilities which are available. These are the innovations which have been implemented and are now being adopted by other players. There are also new possibilities which can be adopted by everyone. Whether you are a small yacht, whether you’re a cruise, whether you’re a river ferry company, you can look at this solution. Back to my co-host Dipal to guide us through this section of the webinar. Dipal.

Dipal: Thank you, Ashok. I think you know about the large player in the cruise market so far dominating in this space. They have basically actually created a lot of new technology solutions. What about if we carve out something which can be making more sense and here we should consider the internet connectivity and also considering that part that with the limited connectivity what can you. The cruise are tested and great. Now, we leave all in the body and the body right where it is, allows us to have the first level of interaction through the machines. Machines basically respond to us back.

That doesn’t take the humanity out of the picture but rather, they basically understand small and all to us and ultimately, provide us small personalized offering. Imagine a scenario, I think Jose, our Ruth’s friend, if he is basically hungry, he doesn’t need to actually dial-in or just ask through any of the crew members and check or go through different dining options and what are there, and figuring out rather than just controlling through the phone itself and talking to the bot. He could just say that, “I’m hungry.” Based on the time of the day, the machine will learn that whether he’s asking for breakfast or a lunch or a dinner and appropriate options can showcase to him.

Not only that but once he picked up, a bot can also answer that, “Where do you want to get it delivered?” Because now we live in the era where MSC Cruise has just been using 15,000 bacons are actually implemented on the ship. That means they can exactly locate you, where you are. Instead of delivering just only to the cabin, which are the fixed state, rather than you can get the food to be delivered or your champagne to be delivered at the place where you are right now standing. That can be interesting and can happen here. Also at the same time, you can also control or you can physically, check for different excursions, spa, and also different events which are happening in the mall.

Now, let’s look at the front innovation that we do it in a slightly more matured. Facial recognition is something that has come in the mainstream, post the iPhone has actually launched the face recognition part. They do the 3D scanning and they allow you to understand but what if we physically know created a different event model and also, allow the people to be recognized? Not only that but also that can be used for the transaction. Why, as a cruise traveler, to carry the wallet or a bag or anything where the face itself is an identity? This becomes basically, more immersive experience for them. Not only that, once the face is recognized, crew member will also know that who the traveler is.

They can also on their screen, they can also check that this particular person, say, for example, that Jose comes and his face got recognized, they know that this particular person is of a team member, and what are the preferences of him. The crew member will be more prepared while basically satisfying the deeds of the Jose. It is just taking the service level to one more step ahead, just utilizing the technology in a proper way. Now, let’s go for the next thing. What is the next big thing can happen? We all know that people use the mobile application to unlock the cabin doors. What if the person himself becomes the identity? For example, Jose wants to under his cabin.

The typical process is either he use the charge card, swipe the cabin door and then he enter or the other way, if it is mobile enabled, he has to take out the mobile phone, just step on the key lock and then the cabin will be unlocked. What is the pattern– If every person has a unique work pattern, and if we utilize that work pattern along with the mobile accelerate what is what is going to happen is cabin door will know that whether this is the right phone that I am talking to and whether the person who is holding this particular phone, either in the hand or in the pocket, is the right person or not.

Once she gets that, she knows whether it is Jose or it is different person. Ultimately, what is going to happen is the door can be unlocked. Here a lot of mobile models come into the picture. That basically you can utilize as similarly as possible. This is a proven methodology that’s done by a lot of TechCrunch, Weiner, who has actually invented the system by just doing the transaction using the wall-pad.

Now, what if we basically know allow the AR experience because here gives you the immersive experience and what if my wait time or wherever I am ordering, I am actually informed the user that the plate which I am ordering is actually the one I intend to. Also, it gives you the more immersive experience while basically you are with the kids, you want to show them, you want to get the choices, et cetera. That becomes easier for you. Using just simply the tablet is ordering using the AR.

People will know from that and is they are ordering the thing or not. At the same time from the kitchen perspective, they know that what people right now actually listening to, they know that they can send the big data we can analyze, what other issues are in demand and what are the things cumulative that needs to be managed. Also the kitchen order tickets and on dissipation of the orders can also be predicted out of that. Everything can happen using the intranet other than the internet. Whatever the possibility we’re seeing so far, doesn’t require the internet connectivity but rather than utilizing the intranet and the ship mates have all the time to take care of these things.

I think that this one is basically dear to almost everyone’s heart, we have seen that you know the Alexa and Google Home and now it’s coming in a mainstream that the voice is becoming new identity acting as a control of a lot of the interfaces. People are now moving away from the digital interfaces rather than– when I say digital I mean more the visual part of it rather than you taking control through the voice. What if you got an assistant itself sitting in your cabin in a non-intrusive way and when you basically use the command and that’s particularly suited to you.

I’m not talking about here is the Alexa or Google Home implementation because they require internet but I am talking about the system that is developed which doesn’t require the internet but you can work on the intranet basically on every model. They are basically you know called out by one of the big models which is basically happening in the Alexa so when you say Alexa it actually gets activated. It’s also identifying a particular word and that particular system will be at your service.

When somebody is ordering in the dining, if the voice assistant start speaking the menu item it doesn’t make sense. Take the possibility to one mall here, each separate number of cabin has a television or a display unit already installed in the cabin, that will be basically showing you the food menu. If the voyager says, “Hey, I’m hungry,” the display unit will basically change and shows the menu items and the voyager by talking over the commands like next or select particular menu item and he can basically order.

Same goes for the activities he can browse through and can see from the display and so on and so forth. The possibilities are endless and just utilizing the technology you can actually learn more things. With this I’ll invite Ashok to just decide on how the right solution to be selected.

Ashok: Thank you once again Dipal. We are getting more and more excited with every cruise, what are the new technologies we will be looking at. Of course, there are a lot of new ideas out there in the market and there’s always a method in madness what to select. It has of course has to be in sync with your target audience who are your cruise travelers, what are they looking for, what are your existing IT investments et cetera. Let’s look at quick do’s and the don’ts while selecting the right solution for your company or your cruise organization. I am cognizant of the time so we’ll be spending about 10 minutes to leave a few minutes for the question and answer session which is the most interesting part for me and people here.

If you are looking at the overall guest experience, what the cruisers really want is seamlessness, is a great overall experience. Whether it is reducing the embarking time by having quit on boarding, by having quick access to the stateroom, offers of personalization to upgrade their cabin, helping them to socialize in the way they choose. If they choose to chat, if they want to socialize through word of mouth, let them do that. Also helping them with the right information in form of itinerary exertion booking which can be add-on, very handy to them and on their mobile screen is something which they look forward to.

What they definitely don’t look forward to is too much intrusion, don’t intrude into their privacy, don’t intrude on them, don’t bombard with them with too many information, don’t add any low value amenities because they are there for pleasure. They are there to enjoy so give it the right level of personalization and that’s where the solutions like bot is coming to the picture, that’s where the solution like chat or wearables come into picture.

They get triggered only when the guest wants it. What to do from a cruise organization, a yacht organization or ferry organization. You, of course, would be interested to reduce the cost of service or reduce the overall transaction cost and also get the footprint. This is what we should be looking at, how you can do more with less. You also don’t need to make additional or unnecessary investments in technology without checking the benefits. Also, don’t bombard the cruiser with too much of intrusive technology. Keep it simple as they say.

If we have to look at selecting the right solution, go for something with is simple, lightweight, it should not be a big infrastructure like some of the large ERP systems which are out there. All the large CRM systems don’t invest them because if the technology keeps on changing, the digital infrastructure is very fluid business. Select something which is lightweight, something which can be quickly implemented. I think one of the solutions which was shown by our expert Dipal can be implemented in 3-4 days. If you are looking at something to be implemented by middle of March, then that is the solution you want.

You don’t want to think about a solution which would take eight months to implement by the time a lot of changes happen in the industry. You want a solution which can easily integrate with your booking system. If you are using Oracle carers or any others booking engine, you want this to easily integrate or any other custom booking engine. It should easily integrate with your security system. It should easily integrate with your payment system. You should also look at something which is scalable because as I said, new technologies keep on coming to the industry.

There are a lot of new innovations which are being brought to the industry. Something which can be scalable and can build in a modular fashion is something which should be very, very interesting for you. Today’s digital world also brings a lot of vulnerabilities hence a solution which is secured which has a proper level of encryption and security standards implemented to protect the guest’s privacy, the payments et cetera are very, very important. I think one of the best ways which we have found working with a lot of customers is to start with small pilot projects. Look at doing workshops, having a small pilot project, implement on a few cruise, a few ferries and then roll it out across the entire organization.

That again is required something which is quick and easy to work with. What is the right solution? Right solution is a one solution which integrates all the different components for a cruise organization which provides easy onboarding, which gives you the loyalty option, which gives the guests ability to book dining, spa, excursion, which provides the opportunity for chatting with the fellow-travelers, giving the right feedback. For a cruise company a solution which can help them to improve their customer loyalty, improve the overall brand experience and also integrate very, very easily with their existing systems.

Selecting the right solution is no difficult task. It’s something which is easy as we can start with small pilots and look at the options which are available in today’s digital landscape. With this, not only you but your guests and everyone would have a smooth sailing. Thank you and we look forward to the question-and-answer session. Thank you for the opportunity to present our ideas and solutions. Thank you.

Craig: Thank you Ashok and Dipal. Is very interesting. It’s now time to answer some of your questions and as a reminder, you can use the chat function at the bottom of your screen to ask your question. We’ve already had a few questions coming already. To begin, you guys showed a demo solution. Is that available to the market?

Ashok: Yes. I think that demo solution is a different solution which readily available in the market. It’s a solution which has been implemented and in pilot at many cruise organizations. If you are interested in that please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to demonstrate the solution to you. Also, we do a lot of workshops with our prospectus, we’ll be more than happy to come down, sit with your team, do a quick two-day workshop and see how the solution can be implemented in your infrastructure. To cut a long story short, yes it’s available. It can be implemented.

Craig: Thank you, Ashok. We’ve got a second question here saying, “Thanks for the great webinar, we loved it. We’re thinking about some ideas, how do we start and what do we do next?”

Ashok: I think the answer to that was partly in the first response as well. I think there are two sets of things which can happen. One is to identify what are really your important goals. Are your goals to improve the onboard experience? Are your goals to improve the revenue? Are your goals to improve the operations of the cruise on the ferry line which you’re operating? The second part is to quickly do a workshop and that’s what I suggest. We sit down with you and tell about 14 to 15 different questions which have and that’s the questions which are jointly explored along with the cruise executives, digital executives, operations executives, marketing team and the on-sea team.

We look at identifying what are the right solutions for you. What are your existing IT investments? What are the existing booking systems you have? What is the timeline you’re looking at? What are your peak seasons? What are your downtimes? What are the number of passengers which ferry in? Then we help you to create a roadmap and also implement that roadmap and also show the ROI of the solution. I think the response to this question is, start with identifying a goal. Second is do a workshop and identify the roadmap for you. Even if you have to decide upon the future, the road workshop is a good idea that will determine the long term road map for your organization.

Craig: Thanks, Ashok. I think you might have answered this next question as well it’s already been asked as well slightly with that. The question is do we need to change our existing solutions, we’ve already had some existing solutions on board.

Ashok: Well, no. I don’t think so. I think it’s a highly individual solution. The beauty part is it has the flexibility, right? Like you’ve got a different financial system out of the main system you can find capabilities around that. Or you’ve got the different extensions inventory management, old and new inventory management. Those solutions definitely is very different with those entities.

You don’t need to change any underlying solutions that you right now have. At least you build on top of what you have to provide the better digital experience to your travellers. Also, you can reap the benefits of the correct public tools.

Just to add, I don’t want to diverge too much details about our customers, but they’ve been customers who have been using booking systems from Oracle, Cadence. These solutions built on top of the existing investments, they are the security agencies, the door locks. It can work with the existing IT systems which you have and sit on top of it. No need to change the overall system.

Craig: Great. We’ve got two more questions probably time for today. The second last one is how much time does it take to implement the solution?

Ashok: It actually depends upon the objectives that you have, but we have seen this solution if all the other pieces are in place, which is your booking system, your other systems are in place. We can implement the system in about three to four weeks, which is very easy. We have also done solutions, a little bit, from scratch. The solution has been built and deployed in about three to four months as well. If you are building everything from scratch, three to four months. If you’re looking at already existing systems which are there just invigorate them and make it light, I would say less than a month.

Craig: Fantastic. The last question we’re going to have time for today, do you have any solutions the cruise operations?

Ashok: When you mean operations I presume, we talked about the customer experience side today. Of course, a lot of solutions to manage the cruise operations from the cruise perspective, from the cruise operations perspective. People tend to more like the back-end solutions we have.

Dipal: Maybe if I understand correctly, the operations we’re having right now are related to the catering operations that we have. For example, you want the excursions to be managed, or you want your employees to be managed, you do that P&L system. Or how do you manipulate the dining? How much inventory you expose. Those rules, royalty and inventory management basically we do have a solution for that. To answer that, yes we have it but basically understand that in details, it will be very early to say that we know what we have to do.

Craig: Fantastic. Sadly, that’s all the questions we’re able to answer today. The things that we did not get to, we’ll be in touch after this webinar. Also, be sure to subscribe to DTVI a new digital transformation channel that brings in industry experts. Many thanks to our speakers, Dipal and Ashok. Thank you everyone for joining us today. You’ll receive an email in the next 24 hours with the slide presentation and a link to the webcast replay. If you have any questions about our cruise solutions, please contact us at info@infostretch.com or call us at +44 20 3865 7881 and speak with a member of the team. Thank you all and enjoy the rest of your day.