How Digitalisation is Improving Profitability and Efficiencies for Cruise Businesses
The cruise industry is thriving. 24.63 million cruise passengers were recorded worldwide last year and it’s no surprise, with the average cruise ship capacity at 3,000 passengers – and over 6000 on the largest cruise ship. With such a high footfall, it’s not only paramount to optimise efficiency, but to futurize cruises to improve customer experience and increase profits. This is where digital kiosks can help!
This guide aims to deliver insight into how technology can improve cruise management on every level. From speeding up the embarkment processes, improving customer experiences, to providing resources that are more cost-favourable than additional members of staff.
Boarding made easy
The high number of travellers embarking at the same time can be better managed with a digitalised visitor management system. Self-check-in kiosks speed up passenger processing, enabling staff to process more passengers per hour. In addition, an ID checking kiosk with an eye-scanner or finger vein scanner has lower operating costs. From a passenger’s perspective, this process results in reduced wait times, and a seamless, improved experience. Safety isn’t compromised, as this system frees up border officers to focus solely on security and enforcement.
To free up staff to make a more personal impact, a kiosk ticket printer is a cost-effective solution, in-place of staff. Use these to print an all-in-one room key and on-board cruise credit card.
Empower staff to deliver exceptional customer service as people disembark. Staff are encouraged to collect feedback, often in the form of paper slips or standing with a tablet. This activity can be achieved with an interactive kiosk solution. It frees staff time so that it can be better spent, and it reduces queues as people exit the ship. Guests can use a tablet kiosk at any point during their cruise and leave feedback in isolation and in their own time. More feedback = more opportunities to improve service.
Make embarking and disembarking at port stops simple
A long wait to disembark and embark at each port can transform what was a lovely excursion to a negative memory. A self-service check-in kiosk is user-friendly and quick to use. With the tap of their cruise card and a scan of their passport cruise-goers can re-board with ease.
Create a memory that can last a lifetime
A memory that sticks with guests is the photo that’s taken as they board. A touch screen photo kiosk with a printer serves several purposes: photos for customers, data collection and as a marketing tool. They can also be used to order their precious memento for download later with Picsolve, a content creation company who capture images and videos of the moments people enjoy and want to share.
- For users, it’s the same photo, the same take-away, with a faster, improved experience.
- For cruises, it improves the efficiency of staff, even replacing staff time, as well as providing a successful marketing tool.
- Data can be collected for remarketing purposes, and pictures can be used as content on the cruise line’s social media channels.
- Another plus? If those on the cruise are encouraged to follow the company on social media, perhaps via a banner on the photo kiosk, they are likely to share the photo of themselves on their News Feed, achieving more brand awareness for the company.
Every opportunity onboard is known
A cruise ship can typically span over 1,000 ft, and for those new to the ship, it’s a vast space to get familiarised with! On top of that, there’s so much activity happening on-board, from entertainment, excursions, various restaurants, to port schedules. An interactive touch screen kiosk is familiar, easy-to-use and can be set up to be a port of call for information.
These are the ways an interactive information kiosk is an invaluable resource on cruise ships:
- Cruise ship maps – an interactive wayfinding kiosk is a quick and easy means for guests to navigate around the ship. By feeling more comfortable and in control, the user experience is enhanced.
- Excursions and port schedules – cruise-goers can make their own schedule in their own time, taking control of excursions. Not only will this empower customers, but it will improve the quality of their experience. Utilising information kiosks reduces queues, gives guests an opportunity to refresh themselves with what they have planned, and may reduce the number of missed re-embarkments or excursions.
These processes don’t need to be booked by staff; individuals can book their own excursions. And this doesn’t mean that businesses lose the opportunity to upsell; promotional messages can be added to the kiosks!
- Entertainment – individuals and families can plan on-board activities with ease with an interactive kiosk. A common distress for cruise passengers is the strict timetable of events, but this doesn’t have to be the case. They can use the kiosk to book shows that suit them, managing their own schedule. For parent’s looking for a little quiet, children’s clubs can be booked using these devices, too!
- Restaurant menus – in such a vast space, it can be easy to miss some of the restaurants. Or, frustrating if individuals have travelled to a restaurant only to discover they have no immediate availability. A few taps on a tablet kiosk and users can plan meals, discover the selection of available restaurants and book tables. Further to this, the cruise line can utilise this resource to push specials and upsell to more expensive restaurants.
Provide excellent customer service by putting the control into the hands of guests. Touch-screen self-service kiosks can be placed on bars and restaurant tables for visitors to place their orders.
- News – being out at sea and away from normality can lead to feelings of disconnect, which can be unsettling. Use information kiosks for user-access to worldwide news, alongside cruise news and updates.
- FAQs – implement past feedback by adding a frequently asked questions section to solve common queries.
- Feedback – streamline current feedback processes by collecting all feedback on one system. By setting up prompts on feedback kiosks, customers will feel happier and valued, which can encourage more sign-ups. Health and safety processes and documentation can be accessed using this device, or if a passenger has any concerns, these can be logged for a member of staff’s attention.
An information kiosk doesn’t have to be a generic, white, unenticing kiosk. imageHOLDERS provide an end-to-end solution; a custom kiosk which can integrate many different devices, and working with our software partners. By incorporating branding, this marries the kiosk design and programming with the user experience on-board. Limitless add-ons are available and there are various software options available, so all business-specific requirements can be met.
State of the art POS systems
Cruises are for escaping everyday concerns, which can include carrying physical money around. Payment kiosks negate the need to bring physical money or debit/credit cards on board, as on cashless cruises, payment kiosks can be used to safely top-up cruise-cards. By streamlining payment terminals across the ship, it establishes an easy payment solution for users in both the restaurants and shops. Maximise sales by combining the instore and digital shopping experience with self-assisted retail POS. Optimise the device by adding promotional banners highlighting product offers.
Payment kiosks are particularly helpful to those who aren’t native speakers as the interactive kiosks can be set up in multiple languages.
The ultimate benefit is that a payment kiosk will make the cruise company more profit. Studies show that consumers using self-service kiosks in restaurants spend more money. Individuals may find it easier to spend money at their own ease using a self-service kiosk when it’s without judgement or a salesperson. They can be used to pay for upgrades, excursions and trips.
Time and attendance systems
Monitor and track staff time with a time and attendance kiosk. The recorded data can be reviewed to ensure staff are being punctual. This is paramount, due to the nature of high service-standards on cruise ships.
The same devices can be used for visitor management. Log the presence of addition passengers such as entertainers. This is required for immigration officers that board at each port to check documentation, and for health and safety.
Think your business needs to embark on digitalisation?
Last year, 16 cruise ships were built, and another 85 are expected between 2018-2025, further reinstating the strength of this industry. Investing in interactive kiosk systems will benefit both cruise businesses and the industry, creating a more positive experience. Interactive kiosks modernise this timeless, experience-driven industry, processing more people, providing an improved experience, increasing customer retention and reducing outgoing expenses, as fewer members of staff are required.
Do you think your business would benefit from a digitalised cruise management system? To discuss the ways you can change the dynamics of your business with our innovative solutions, get in touch with our team today by calling +44 (0)1202 892863 (UK) or 1-888-858-9778 (US) or email [email protected]
Come and see us at Seatrade Cruise Global’s worldwide event in April! We will be exhibiting alongside 700 other industry-leading exhibitors. We look forward to discussing how digitalisation can help your cruise business. Find us on booth 1409!