Skift Take

Carnival has been talking about the Ocean Medallion for a while now. Expect the technology to be deployed on more ships soon, with new improvements to guest experience in the process.

Carnival Corp. has had ambitious goals for its data-fueled Ocean Medallion initiative aimed to bring a personalized experience to guests using internet of things technology.

Progress has been slower than expected in terms of deployment across Carnival’s various brands, but Carnival as an organization is still reaping rewards from advanced data analytics.

John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer of Carnival Corp., told attendees at Skift Tech Forum 2019 in San Francisco that the Crown Princess has become the fourth ship to be outfitted with the new technology.

“I could walk off this stage and tell you which individual is sitting at what chair in the international cafe on the Royal Princess in Vancouver,” said Padgett, speaking of the depth to which the system allows Carnival to monitor guest behavior. “Everyone is fully connected across the ecosystem.”

Many of the most important innovations, though, are somewhat invisible to cruisers themselves. Installing the new platform meant reinventing how the onboard systems of a cruise ship work.

Guests are persistent across multiple cruises, which provides a major benefit when you consider the value of repeat cruisers to cruise lines. It also means Carnival’s system can not just track, but retain, information that can lead to stronger personalization over the lifecycle of a guest.

“After every vacation experience, in most reservation and property management systems you aren’t you anymore,” said Padgett. “You might be in the customer relationship management system but not the property management system. The way we do it is that the guest is always consistent across not just this vacation experience, but the future.”

Right now the focus for Carnival’s innovation group is to figure out ways to leverage data in ways that immediately facilitate a stronger experience for cruisers. Sure, having the data will allow the company to more effectively sell cruises in the future, but the technology will prove less useful to guests if it doesn’t provide an immediate improvement to their experience.

“Most companies are collecting all this big data and it goes to data warehouses,” said Padgett. “Our model in experiential intelligence is the data that is actually being created in that moment is plowed back into the guest experience in that second in real-time. That’s the point of the internet of things. Everyone is into the internet of things, but what’s the purpose? The purpose is to take all that intelligence and put it back into that interaction.”


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Tags: carnival, skift tech forum, stf2019

Photo credit: John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer of Carnival Corp., speaking on May 27, 2019 at Skift Tech Forum 2019 in San Francisco, Calif. Skift

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