Posted by: salpy | April 24, 2009

Client Proposal Virtual Concierge

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Virtual Concierge
Objective
To create a virtual concierge that would be similar to the services a purser’s desk provides on cruise ships, with the additional services of a ship directory and custom itinerary creation.
Overview
The virtual concierge system would focus around booking shipboard activities and shore excursions, giving RCI guests directions around the ship, and building custom itineraries that could then be printed out.

Reservations
Guests would be able to search for shipboard services/activities (e.g. spa reservation) or upcoming land excursions and book them right on Microsoft Surface.

Features:

  • General browsing through shipboard activities or services.
  • Ability to book activities, as well as modify bookings.
  • All reservation attempts would provide information regarding spaces available or times (if appropriate) that spaces are available for.
  • Use the surface as a point of sale to pay for activities that need to be purchased.
  • Use the RCI card* on the surface to generate an age appropriate list of activities (e.g. youth oriented activities for teens).
  • Look ahead to book upcoming shore excursions or shipboard activities.

*Currently RCI guests receive a cruise card they can use for onboard purchases. Adding an RFID tag would enable usage with Microsoft Surface.

Directions
Guests would be able to search for ship activities or locations and be given directions on how to get there.

Features:

  • The system would provide a “you are here” icon with a path showing you how to get to your destination.
  • Akin to a “mapquest” for the ship with the option of printing directions or sending them to a mobile device.
  • Virtual walkthroughs of key locations on the ship such as the Royal Promenade.
  • Video feeds of main activity areas so that guests can gauge how busy an area is before they travel all the way there (e.g. how crowded is the pool right now?)

Custom Itineraries
Guests would be able to create their own custom itinerary.

Features:

  • Guests can drag and drop events from the general itinerary onto a custom itinerary.
  • Ability to narrow down general itinerary listing using search options.
  • Any purchased or reserved events would appear on the guest’s custom itinerary as well.
  • Ability to organize future itineraries (e.g. build the itinerary for day four on your first day of the cruise).
  • Ability to print custom itineraries.


Rationale

Reservation System: Cruise guests have the option of purchasing excursions online ahead of time, or to purchase them onboard the ship at the Purser’s Desk. With guest capacities of 3500-4000 for their larger and most popular classes of ships (Voyager and Freedom classes), the Purser’s Desk can experience lineups that most guests would rather not wait in. Allowing guests to browse, reserve and purchase activities/excursions at their own leisure would emphasize the relaxing feel of a cruise. By using their RCI cards directly on Microsoft Surface, guests can receive itinerary recommendations as well as save customized itineraries.

Ship Directions:
At 1112 feet long and 185 feet wide with 15 passenger decks, the largest ships in RCI’s fleet can be quite intimidating to navigate. At the moment, RCI has installed interactive ship maps on one of their largest ships – the Liberty of the Seas – on three of its fifteen decks. These maps will appear on their next larger Oasis class of ships as well.  Giving guests the ability to navigate the ship at ease would not only provide convenience, but also allow guests to fully take advantage of the myriad of activities the ship provides.

Custom Itineraries: Guests receive the daily newsletter “Cruise Compass” which includes a daily planner of activities occurring throughout the day, as well as what hours recreational facilities are open. With the amount of information available on the daily planner, it can quickly become overwhelming for guests to search through and organize. By making the itinerary creation process simpler and more enjoyable, guests can relax and enjoy their cruise.
Marketing
The key feature of the virtual concierge system is to offer convenience for RCI cruise guests, allowing them to enjoy their cruise as the relaxing vacation it is intended to be. As ships become larger and offer more activities, recreational facilities, and programs, guests should feel that taking advantage of all the ship has to offer is simple and not at all frustrating. By providing a virtual concierge system that helps with reservations, ship navigation, and itinerary creation, RCI can assure their guests that their stay will be the smooth, fun and relaxing experience they intended it to be.

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