All forms of customer experience are now being measured against the latest advances in day-to-day, consumer technologies. The expectations of customers are elevating at a rate that is difficult to keep up with, especially for sectors of the hospitality industry where it is still hard to define the areas for CX improvement and subsequently implement the right kind of solutions.
One of these sectors is the cruise line business and decision-makers have realized that artificial intelligence can effectively help provide what Mike Giresi, CIO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, describes as “a frictionless and immersive vacation experience” for guests.
There are several integration points for AI throughout the spectrum of a guest’s cruise ship experience. Let’s discuss the areas that could leverage AI in a meaningful way aboard a cruise ship.
A Guest’s Vacation Companion
Cruise ships are aptly described as “floating cities” and as a result of the sheer size of these ships, guests can quickly find themselves lost or overwhelmed by their surroundings. Not to mention, the amount of information and experiences that are available to guests is significant and can be hard for them to digest, so it is easy for people to miss out on activities that suit their interests. These missed opportunities keep a guest’s cruise experience from reaching its full potential.
To personalize the experience, AI-driven, digital companions can be made available within guest rooms on mobile devices, kiosks and interactive TV’s to serve as a concierge so they’re available to customers at all times. This degree of accessibility allows guests to have their queries answered as quickly as possible and at the same time maximize their time onboard the ship.
AI can take it a step further by making recommendations on activities, restaurants and other offerings based on guest’s preferences, which were acquired in past cruises or at some point during the booking or boarding process. Every time a cruise sets out to sea, the passenger population is comprised of first-time cruise vacationers, cruise veterans and guests with varying interests that come from different walks of life. Providing each of them with a unique, immersive experience is a superhuman task that would realistically require a convergence of many business technologies and manpower. Artificial intelligence possesses the cognitive capabilities and bandwidth to provide such personalized services to every passenger onboard.
As guests experience different aspects of the cruise ship, from the food to the events onboard, an AI-driven product would be working in the background, capturing all this information in real-time. Now, the AI can extract their unique interests and devise personalized itineraries so less time is spent worrying about how to plan their day out and more time is spent creating lasting memories. As Giresi states, no longer would customers have to “traverse through a series of monolithic, antiquated systems like nothing is purposely put together” to get complete enjoyment out of their vacation.
An Asset to the Crew
Deploying AI in an on-the-go, concierge capacity is certainly a direct way to impact guest satisfaction, but to make sure all areas of guest service are optimal, artificial intelligence can be applied to help cruise line staff better connect with the ship’s guests. Proper communication and access to passenger information are crucial in delivering speedy assistance to a guest in need.
An AI-powered assistant can inform customer service crew members of a customer request or grievance and become the intermediary line of communication between guests and ship personnel. The size of these cruise liners combined with more than 5,000 people moving from the lido deck to the atrium and approaching nearby concierge desks creates an environment where a more streamlined manner of receiving requests is necessary to address questions and concerns in a timely fashion.
An AI-driven digital assistant can eliminate congestion at concierge areas by answering guest questions on their own. In addition, AI assistants can provide concierge employees with the data needed to resolve a passenger’s issue(s). Typically, getting ahold of passenger information to solve higher complexity issues that may involve accessing multiple databases, slowing down the resolution of simpler requests. Through an AI interface, all guest information is readily accessible by cleared personnel from a central point without encountering delays.
Creating a Lasting Memory
The cruise line business has begun to factor in the technological changes occurring around CX and are focusing on enhancing the guest experience to the point that it becomes a company’s primary differentiator and the reason why guests return for a similar experience.
After all, the success of a cruise ship company is predicated upon cultivating “repeat customers” and that is not conceivable without adding a personalized touch to a passenger’s vacation experience.
AI is capable of creating a unique and individualized customer experience in a manner that no other business technology has been able to do. AI can bring to fruition the principle that drives the branding of every cruise line company, which is to make guests feel special and provide them with the best possible vacation on and off their ships. It’s all about doing the little things that often go understated but make all the difference for a guest when they look back on their trip. Through artificial intelligence, every memory can be enhanced and every moment can be made unforgettable.