How can technology transform the business of adventure?
Across its family of brands, Royal Caribbean prided itself on leading-edge innovation in ship design. It was time to bring the guest experience into the Transformative Age.
Cruise guests want maximum fun with minimum hassle
Time is precious, now more than ever. Almost every minute is assigned and accounted for in the hustle and bustle of the day.
So when people get a chance to take a holiday from their busy lives, they want a frictionless experience that supersizes the vacation fun and minimizes the hassle factor. They want a feeling of being away while at the same time having all the connected comforts of home.
For Royal Caribbean, this meant redesigning the entire customer journey and introducing a range of integrated technologies to bring the guest experience into the Transformative Age.
We’re always thinking about tomorrow, and that requires constantly looking to be the disruptor, not the disruptee.
Royal Caribbean saw an opportunity to provide a fully integrated shore-to-ship digital experience
Involving everything from zip lines to flow riding to ice skating, Royal Caribbean’s ship design has always been at the leading edge of innovation to attract a growing number of cruise passengers (from 17.8 million per year in 2009 to an expected 27.2 million in 2018). However, in looking at industries such as amusement parks, casinos and airlines, which have been offering mobile check-in and bespoke apps to customers for years, Royal Caribbean realized it had an opportunity to improve its ability to offer guests a fully integrated shore-to-ship digital experience.
The rapid pace of digital transformation has led to heightened customer expectations— and organizations know they need to innovate if they want to keep up. EY findings show that 50% of CEOs do not believe their companies have implemented the necessary steps to counter disruption. Failure to do so can put market leadership and capitalization at risk.
The risk of being disrupted50%
of CEOs do not believe their companies have implemented the necessary steps to counter disruption.
To remain competitive on every level, Royal Caribbean recognized it needed to deliver a seamless connected experience on land and at sea that allowed their guests to get the most from their cruise experience. Understanding it needed the right partner, Royal Caribbean looked to EY professionals to help it cruise into the digital age.
Digital doesn’t disrupt our business but accelerates our business.
SVP, Digital, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Moving from analog to digital required a radical technological rethink
When EY came onboard, Royal Caribbean was still in the early stages of its digital thinking. Guests had limited visibility to activities and amenities through a web portal and a minimalist app. Once aboard, they received a daily printed newsletter detailing the events, activities, restaurants and menus, shore excursions and ports of call for the day. Further, to participate in an event or excursion, guests had to line up and sign up with the crew on a first-come, first-served basis.
This analog approach was limiting, particularly for generations who were more accustomed to a digital-first mindset and were looking for a more streamlined and frictionless experience.
“People today expect the ease of technology in everything they do,” says Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “They find it saves them time and effort, especially when on vacation, where time is one of the most important commodities they have.”
This was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to think differently about connecting with their guests, with their employees and also with new revenue streams.
EY Advisory Account Leader for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“This was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to think differently about connecting with their guests, with their employees and also with new revenue streams,” Raj Mirchandani, EY Advisory Account Leader for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., explains. “Done right, this could lead to new ways of operating that provide not just what today’s digitally savvy customers expect, but something that fundamentally changes their perception of what it means to go on a cruise.”
Of course, developing a digital experience that worked on ship and shore, across a fleet of 40 ships, was no easy task. The EY team needed to think about digital from every angle throughout the company’s entire business.