The Elevated
Passenger Experience

At the recent Interferry conference 2019 held in London, Anders Rundberg, CEO of Carus presented Carus’ vision of the Elevated Passenger Experience and how that could ultimately increase an operator’s bottom line.



The following is a summary of that presentation.

Anders first outlined Carus objectives for improving the passenger experience. 

They are:

  • To increase the revenue from existing passengers by making it easier to buy and by creating a pleasant experience
  • To attract more repeat passengers and new passengers
  • To sell on average an additional cup of coffee to each passenger

These are conservative objectives and he estimated the period for the return on investment to be less than 2 years.
The traveler experience consists of 6 distinct phases; Marketing, booking, port, onboard, time spent at destination and the return trip.
Finally, we have the actions after the journey before returning to the marketing phase.
We need to excel in each phase to create the ultimate customer experience but in this presentation Anders focused on the onboard experience and how to improve that.

Interaction
We need to be able to interact in a non-intrusive way whenever we or the customer wants to interact

Information
Knowledge of what’s already been purchased, in advance or onboard, combined with a full understanding of the passenger’s preferences and travel history.

Location
Knowledge of the passenger’s location 
The best way to track a passenger’s location is to use their mobile phone – and combine it with the Carus App.  There is a lot of talk about proximity awareness, guidance and location services;

  • Where am I?
  • How can I get to a certain place?
  • Virtual reality guidance
  • Notification when it’s time to return to your car to go to the port

To get around the fact that GPS often does not work at sea, our solution is to use WLAN and beacons for location services and locally stored digital maps.
WLAN can locate you in a room but to be more precise we will rely on beacons to triangulate and pinpoint your exact position, such as which table or seat you are sitting in.
With that knowledge and the location of our client, how can we elevate the service?

Digitalization

  • One touch payment – It must be quick and simple to close a sale
  • My Folder – view all my purchases and pre-purchased items for this booking, as well as previous and future bookings, all in one place
  • I should be able to purchase whenever and wherever I want to
  • I should have access to personal Onboard information services
  • Personal push messages are our way to start the interaction with the customer
  • Make It Right – manage mistakes before they become issues
  • Knowing where the passenger is increases security

Payments
You should be able to buy using cash, prepaid vouchers for a certain amount or item, loyalty points and of course credit cards
One Touch Payment means that you can pay as easily as it looks on the screen. No entry of card information or other actions that makes it cumbersome to buy – just press the BUY button!
We achieve this by tokenization of the customer’s credit card at the time of booking, so you store a token instead of the sensitive card information to comply with PCI/DSS.
This a something that’s available in our solution today, but it really comes to life with the APP
Ease of payment through all methods of payment is the objective

Information
Information has to be easily accessible, starting with that directly related to the journey; onboard services, departure and arrival information, opening hours and entertainment programs
But to create an elevated experience we need to provide more, and sometimes information that isn’t directly linked to revenue, just to create a feeling of being taken care of.
My Folder and points of interest with additional information as well as value added services such as PressReader triggers the customer install the App and more importantly keep it installed.
Personalized information and interaction with push notifications will elevate the experience. But be aware that there is a fine line between service and being intrusive.
Rather than frequent messages over the loudspeakers let’s communicate and inform our customers in a smarter way.

Digital Key
When it comes to cabins the Digital Key in the App is the most important tool. It’s easy to get, use, feels modern and is cost effective.
One thing remains to be solved and that is when the key doesn’t work, be it digital or physical.
What if you could identify yourself at the cabin door and be let in so you can leave your luggage in the room and then sort out the issue at a convenient time – that’s certainly an elevated service experience and we have the solution!

Online Ordering
We have all been standing with our better half and kids at the counter in the cafeteria, trying to agree on what to order while the line behind us grows longer and longer.
Or, when you’re travelling alone sitting in your chair or at your table with your bags beside you craving something to eat or drink but you don’t want to lose your seat – or worse your baggage!
The solution is to make it possible to order at the seat or table. I can either get it delivered to the table or get a message that I can go to the counter and pick it up. With the right layout of the area I will still be able to keep an eye on my bags.
We can also push personalized messages based on location, customer profile and previous purchases to trigger you to buy more.
I should be able to reorder a drink, settle the check on my mobile and leave when I’m ready.
The buffet restaurant it is all about the passenger flow – get everybody through as quickly as possible. Automated Gates may be an idea to reduce the waiting times.

Onboard Shopping
Technology can also bring convenience to the onboard shopping experience by:

  • Self-scanning
  • Pre-order and pick up (or get it delivered to your seat or car)
  • Proximity awareness can allow you to adjust the message on the digital screens to individual customer’s preferences to trigger buying
  • The ability to send a notification when the passenger approaches something you believe is attractive to them

Entrance Control
Instead of a traditional lock and key or digital key we propose using the boarding pass to allow access to the various areas requiring access onboard.
The benefit is that this works with paper as well as the App without having to create expensive keys.

The ‘Digital Concierge’
MSC Cruises have recently launched their digital concierge MSC for Me, a device that you can converse with in multiple languages similar to Apple’s Siri.
MSC for Me uses artificial intelligence to continuously learn and become better.
Their solution is based around the cabin where a substantial time is spent during the journey.
In our vision of the elevated passenger experience you use your phone and our App to achieve the same thing. As we know where you are, what you like and what you already have purchased we can communicate with you when we want to with personalized information and suggestions.
The customer should of course also be able to initiate a contact through the App.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are at the core of this to make the contacts and service better and more relevant for the individual customer.
Done right this will elevate the passenger experience to new levels and at the same time create a new non-intrusive sales channel.

In Summary
By using these tools, we will know everything about our passengers and what they do. We can use that information for product enhancements and more targeted marketing. There is essentially no limit to what can be done with the wealth of data that we can collect and turn into knowledge.
We are already there with Google and Apple tracking our movements. The technology is here and is developing so rapidly that it won’t be long before it’s mature and delivers real benefits; a better customer experience, valuable marketing data and increased sales activity.
We need to start using it now to stay competitive!

Anders Rundberg, CEO of Carus, during the presentation of
The Elevated Passenger Experience. Interferry Conference 2019, London.