On January 5, 2017, Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company with 10 global cruise line brands, became the first travel industry executive to deliver the opening keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest consumer technology event, announcing that the company has developed the world’s “first interactive guest experience platform capable of transforming vacation travel into a highly personalized and elevated level of customized service on a large scale.”
During his address, Donald unveiled the Ocean Medallion, a first-of-its-kind wearable device that enables every guest to have a personal digital concierge to maximize each guest’s experience. The Ocean Medallion “bridges the physical and digital worlds to deliver a new level of personalized service not previously possible.” The quarter-sized, 1.8-ounce disc has no on/off button, needs no charging or instructions, and can be accessorized with jewelry, clips, key chains and bands, or simply carried in a pocket.
“Great guest experience is our ethos. The Ocean Medallion is an amazing use of technology that potentially redefines travel as we know it. It opens an entire world of experiences, and the personal power it unleashes is huge,” Donald told the 2,600 people at the opening session at CES 2017 in the main ballroom at the Venetian Las Vegas.
Added Donald: “We are creating the most personal, simple and intuitive vacation experience. It’s an all-encompassing and totally unique approach we call O·C·E·A·N – the One Cruise Experience Access Network™. This global platform delivers a lifestyle engagement and is a real game-changer.”
Powered by proprietary technology developed by Carnival Corporation that features an Internet of Things (IoT) network of intelligent sensors and experiential computing devices, the Ocean Medallion revolutionizes guest service not only for the cruise industry, but the broader vacation industry. It goes well beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other vacation companies by leaving behind the required guest action of “tap” and ushering in a new guest interaction paradigm.
Joining Donald to present details of the new guest experience platform were the three company executives who are leading the effort: John Padgett, chief guest experience & innovation officer for Carnival Corporation;Michael Jungen, senior vice president of experience design and technology for Carnival Corporation; and Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.
Padgett explained how the Ocean Medallion is the central component of a larger ecosystem.
“Our focus is exceeding guest expectations in ways that cannot be anticipated or duplicated. What makes a Medallion Class experience so special is the level of personalization,” Padgett said while presenting the opportunities to maximize guest experiences throughout an entire vacation journey. “We’ve gone well beyond conventional guest segmentation with the creation of Guest Genomics™, where every guest is unique and every guest can represent many different personas within a single vacation or across multiple vacations. The Ocean Medallion enables experience delivery to be personalized and customized dynamically to each guest in real-time.”
Added Jungen while revealing details behind the Ocean Medallion and its extensive ecosystem: “The Ocean Medallion is clean and sleek in design, and functions as an identifier for each guest. The Ocean Medallion connects directly with our experience ecosystem, so our guests’ desires and needs can be anticipated. It’s intuitive, but not disruptive. Personal, but not invasive.”
Each Ocean Medallion – gifted to every guest and laser-etched with the guest’s name, ship and date of sailing — contains Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication capabilities that interact with thousands of sensors, kiosks, interactive surfaces and smart devices infused throughout the ships and ports. Some of the Ocean Medallion’s benefits include:
streamline and expedite the port embarkation and disembarkation process,
allow guests to access their staterooms as they approach door (no keycard required),
locate friends and family around the cruise ship,
enable guests to purchase merchandise without any transaction, cards or paper,
deliver enhanced on-demand dining experiences based on food and beverage preferences,
power an array of interactive gaming and immersive entertainment experiences, and
significantly enhance service interactions with crew members and guests.
The new guest experience platform – called the xiOS™ — will debut on Regal Princess from the company’s Princess Cruises brand in November 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018, as part of the new Ocean Medallion Class to be rolled out over several years on the entire Princess Cruises fleet.
Swartz, who leads the world’s largest premium cruise line, detailed the opportunities made possible by the Ocean Medallion to surprise and delight the 2 million guests that sail with the brand each year.
“With this innovation, from the moment our guests first engage with us, their experiences will be powered by their preferences, from extra pillows to their favorite drink,” Swartz said. “Services they desire will be delivered seamlessly, in real time, often without asking, where and when they want them. … At the end of the day, the Ocean Medallion takes vacations to an entirely new level. And Princess Cruises will be leading the way, not just for Carnival Corporation, but for the entire vacation industry.”
Added Donald: “Our O·C·E·A·N strategy is guest-centric, and every creative decision we make arises from our guests. Our main goal and our focus are to make their dream vacations come true.”