Positioning and Guest Experience

Case Study: MSC Cruises Location-based services on cruisehips | Favendo GmbH

“Guest Experience” was the all-dominant term at SeaTrade 2019 in Miami, the leading convention for the cruise industry. In the eyes of all the experts present, a pleasant Guest Experience will be the decisive distinguishing feature and selection criterion of the guests for which ship and thus for which line they choose in the constantly booming cruise market. Positioning thus becomes a central element of the cruise concept. We tell you why. 

In contrast to hotels or other accommodation facilities, mobile cruise ships cannot score with a special location as a distinguishing feature. The destinations finally available can theoretically be reached by all lines. For example, while the experience of the “western Mediterranean” cannot be influenced by the operators, it is all the more important how the guests perceive their stay on the ship.

Just like the hotel industry, the cruise industry therefore relies on a seamless and personalized guest experience. Every guest should have his or her wish fulfilled at any time and in any place, and best of all this immediately. The industry is entering a golden age of personalization in response to changing consumer expectations. The Guest Experience is nothing more than the totality of all impressions gained during the relationship with the company on the part of the customer. And these should be exclusively positive.

If the guest’s wish is to be fulfilled at any time and in any place, it is logical that the operators must know where the guest is on the ship. By the way, this is a question that the guest himself on the floating-giants would have liked to have answered quickly and comfortably for himself. Where am I, how do I get to my favourite bar and where do the children hang around again? With up to ten decks, orientation can become a decisive feel-good factor not only for older passengers. Cruise operators all over the world are adapting to the changing customer expectations with great effort and a great spirit of innovation.

MSC Cruises, for example, relies on Zoe. The new virtual, personal cruise assistant, a kind of self-developed Alexa on board, speaks seven languages and adapts individually to the guests and their preferences. Zoe is the highlight of a whole series of digital touchpoints designed to instantly enhance the personal travel experience. The bookable Friends & Family Locator solves one of the problems mentioned above: it allows guests to “stay in touch with their loved ones while enjoying the cruise independently”.

The positioning of the guests in the chain of digital touchpoints is the central and connecting element of the concept of a personalised guest experience.  The necessary technical solution must be sufficiently precise, reliable and self-sufficient. Three requirements, the last of which means the end for many RTLS providers.

Why is that? While until about 2010 local use or licensing for local use of software was the norm, the vast majority of RTLS providers have since specialized in cloud-based solutions. What is not a problem in hospitals or malls is a major barrier on the high seas, due to the amount of data that accumulates. In this case, the necessary satellite-based internet connection is the bottleneck. One position per guest is calculated per second. Each update would have to be sent via satellite to the server and back. And that reliably. Favendo is one of the few, if not the only provider that can implement both strategies.