All Hands on Deck — A New IBM Whitepaper

Kotor, Montenegro — Celebrity Constellation

The summer of 2015, my family of 7 and I went on a cruise to Greece. The entire family was able to find activities to do and we enjoyed having day trips on shore, running for the ship (each time they dropped us in port we seemed to be late to get back to the ship and nearly missed it on several occasions….), and participating in activities on the ship. This is what cruise companies are going for, a family friendly option that takes the stress out of trip planning.

However, that is not how cruises are currently distributing their product. Cruise companies are at an inflection point as the rest of the industry brings in bots and otherwise intermediates their sales, cruise companies have been sticking to their loyalty to agents. Cruise companies find themselves trying to balance the increasingly digital demands of their guests with the demands of their agents who are afraid of losing share, creating expensive and often ineffective distribution.

All Hands on Deck outlines these competing demands and includes findings from online research, executive interviews, and the Cruise Global Conference. From all this information, we have determined various ways that cruise companies can evolve to take the best of digital distribution and marry it to the high service levels agents give to their customers.

Primarily we suggest that cruise companies:

1. Enhance digital distribution through a streamlined checkout experience, virtual reality, and a rethought partnership with agents

2. Enrich profile data and insights on guests by collecting new types of structured and unstructured data and sharing information and insights with agent partners. This will likely require an update to their current front and backend systems

3. Streamline distribution costs through the use of analytics and by improving self-service tools for agent partners

While we don’t foresee agents going away, cruise companies should think about how best to utilize their relationship to best meet their guest requirements.

See the full report at: ibm.biz/cruiseindustry

#ibm #ibmibv #cruiseindustry

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