Royal Caribbean is leading the way towards “data-driven cruising”
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Royal Caribbean is leading the way towards “data-driven cruising”

The travel sector is in the midst of an on-going digital revolution, and the cruise industry is no exception. With the rise of connectivity and big data, the potential is there for cruising to transform itself, improving customer experiences beyond simply updating the ships themselves. At the heart of this evolution is Royal Caribbean, whose concept of data-driven cruises are just around the corner.

Royal Caribbean’s share price has seen plain sailing all year: up 29% year to date

Royal June 19

Source: Yahoo Finance

Speaking to travel industry publication Skift, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of digital, Jay Schneider, said: “As you, I, and everybody knows, digital transformation is just a bunch of buzzwords. But about two and a half years ago, the board made a pretty pivotal decision to really figure it out. Consumers are expecting technology to be ubiquitous throughout their entire digital life. And, frankly, people are expecting personalized, relevant experiences no matter where they are, and that includes when they’re on vacation.”

For Royal Caribbean, that means focussing on the tech to drive results. Wearables are fine, in as much as they can enable easier purchases or more seamless methods of room entry – but in the final estimation, the technology’s application leaves a lot to be desired. The company has solved many problems that wearables can’t touch through the use of apps. This is part of a connectivity-first strategy that has already enabled significant changes behind the scenes in regards to how the business is run.

Schneider says: “Connectivity is probably one of our bigger challenges because, if I give you an app that allows you to board, book something on the ship, or open your stateroom door, that has to work when you’re floating in the Caribbean where connectivity is solid and great, as well as when you’re in off the coast of Norway, where it might be spotty, versus no connectivity in the southern Indian Ocean. We work through it. Every piece of technology for guest or crew has to be looked at through a lens of: Can we go cloud, can we go local, can we do hybrid, and how do we move data?”

One of the main values of connectivity is the amount of data that Royal Caribbean is able to collate about its customers. This opens the door to a truly personalised travel experience – something curated personally for the customer. As Royal Caribbean continues to make strides in these areas, data-driven cruising could be just over the next wave.


Dominion holds Royal Caribbean in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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