Princess Cruises Is Using Sensor-Based Technology to Personalize Your Experience Onboard

adweek.com

March 15, 2017

Creative agency Mofilm has been awarded the project work for the forthcoming ad campaign to promote Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion initiative, Adweek learned this weekend at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Omnicom-owned PHD, which has been Princess Cruises parent Carnival Corporation’s international media agency of record for almost a year, will handle media.

The multichannel campaign, which should go live sometime before late fall, will have a strong focus on digital video, said Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz at SXSW. We primarily spoke with the exec about the medallions technology, and Mofilm’s win was later confirmed via her team.

In terms of the bigger picture, the Ocean Medallion endeavor represents a potentially groundbreaking way of using sensor-based tech to create customer experiences that are smarter for both consumers and brands. The project will kick off on a single ship, the Regal Princess, this November. But the idea is to roll it out to the company’s hundreds of sister-brand ships down the road.

Guests will be able to opt in to getting alerts via the medallions about more than 100 activities on the ship, everything from pilates to poker classes and shopping events. Princess Cruises will survey such customers before they board the ship about what they are interested in. Then, the guests can keep the medallion, which is the size of a quarter, in their pocket or wear it as a necklace or wristband to get alerts about the activities.

“The sensors are all around the ship, and they allow us to create an ecosystem that deliver personalization at scale in terms of experiences,” said Swartz, after delivering a speech. “We’ve looked at the customer journey and looked for the places that create friction in that journey. By using this technology, which will be invisible to the guests, it will allow them to get more of what they want, enjoying every precious minute of their vacations. They will be able to board the ship within minutes, open their room door without taking out a key, etc.”

“Some people don’t want to carry around their phones,” Swartz remarked. “A real-time algorithm will send them notifications about certain activities, some complementary, some for a charge. That algorithm gets smarter every minute. We have a team of people; we have over 70 technology vendors that contribute with everything from satellite connectivity to Compass, which is our digital interface.”

The data-based system will also inform service staffers about a customer’s likely wants and needs. “If you have a soy latte at 9 a.m. every morning, you won’t have to ask for it—we’ll be able to say, ‘Would you like your morning latte?'” she said. “People won’t be staring at a phone screen thanks to the Ocean Medallion, and you’ll be enhancing their experience.”

Princess Cruises’ guests can opt out of the program—perhaps they might feel it to be too Big Brother-like—by simply not bringing the medallion to their cruise. The company will mail out the medallions to them, with plenty of marketing literature to explain why their experience onboard may be enhanced by such tech. Mofilm will also be charged with designing educational-but-compelling ads and content to get consumers to understand how the system works.

“We always serve warm cookies and milk at random points of the day,” Swartz offered as an example. “It’s a surprise-and-delight moment for our guests. We’ll send a [medallion] notification, ‘Hey, heads-up, warm cookies and milk are about to be ready.'”

Using the ship’s app, guests can also ping staff to come find them to fulfill a request. It’s all part of Swartz’s larger strategy to make her brand’s mobile customer service cutting edge in the world of data-based marketing.

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