CES 2017 Day 2: Carnival Cruise Showcases The Future Of Hospitality

For the first keynote address of today, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold W. Donald took the stage to tell CES attendees how one of the biggest cruise companies in the world plans to digitize and transform its guest experience with a proprietary wearable device and an entire cloud-based computing system built to support it. Here are the three key components that the CEO highlighted in his presentation that explains how the company aims to provide a truly seamless, personalized, and dynamic cruise experience for its guests.

Ocean Medallion
Front and center in Carnival’s new guest experience is the Ocean Medallion, a small circular fob that guests can wear like a smartwatch or as a pendant. It is assigned and shipped to each guest at home before the cruise begins so that they may start planning and personalizing their trips. Once the guests aboard the cruise ship, the Medallion will work as an all-access authentication and payment chip, replacing the need for guests to carry their IDs, credit cards, and cruise cards.

According to Carnival, Medallion-ready ships will be equipped with thousands of NFC- and BLE-enabled sensors that communicate with each Medallion to allow the guests to use the fob to open room doors, order and pay for food and other purchases, find family and friends on board, and plan their activity agenda. The Medallions also powers on-board gaming, photo-taking, and various other features that require guest identification. All these add up to a truly seamless cruise experience that removes the hassle of using keys and cards, freeing guests to truly enjoy every precious minute of their cruise.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-07-35-pmGuest-Centric O.C.E.A.N Approach
At the beginning of his keynote, Donald explained his company’s O.C.E.A.N approach, which it uses to create guest-centric cruise experiences that cater to the interests and preference of each individual customers. O.C.E.A.N stands for “One Cruise Experience Across Network,” which refers to the Experience Intelligence cloud computing system that Carnival has developed to power the Medallions and learn about their guests on an individual level from the data collected by the Medallions. As the system learns more about each guest with the data their Medallion collects, their guest profile will grow more robust, allowing Carnival to not only deliver a highly customized trip but also on future trips should the guests choose to return.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-18-40-pmOriginal Content Merged With On-Ship Experience
On the marketing front, Carnival is doubling down on original content designed to showcase the feel-good experiences their cruises offer and inspire travel. The company already has three TV series in place and it is launching a brand new one called Good Spirits with A+E Network. Unlike its existing original series, the new mixology-themed show will also be incorporated as part of the guest experience on the new Medallion-ready cruise, with special cocktail lounges where guests will be able to sample and enjoy the drinks they’ve seen on the show.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-46-15-pmTakeaway For Travel And Hospitality Brands
Altogether, Carnival Cruise’s guest-centric approach offers a good look at the future of travel and hospitality, where wearable tech and cloud computing will work together in the background to deliver a seamless, effortless, and highly personalized experience for each guest, guiding them through each stage of their travel. Once a user profile is established, it will continue to grow and learn new things about the guest each time they return, offering an incentive to establish long-term customer loyalty. As AI and wearable tech continue to advance, their capability to transform the travel and hospitality industries is just starting to emerge, and brands would be smart to start exploring the vast potential they hold and try incorporating them into your guest experiences.