Improve passenger satisfaction on cruise ships with chatbots

Dec 9, 2020

We look at how technology can help improve passenger satisfaction on cruise ships.



Logistics is a very complex industry, with the mission of connecting an almost infinite amount of points with each other and move items of all shapes and sizes between them. Coordination and information sharing is crucial to the success of this industry, but not always easy to achieve.

The industry needs to coordinate not only the correct pickup and drop off of items but also all the paperwork and mode of transport changes that occur along the way. All of this while dealing with countless external factors, such as weather, traffic, and maintenance problems.

It is, in other words, an industry that needs all the help it can get to improve communication and avoid costly delays. Technology can help, but rolling out a new system is often slow and costly, especially when the company does not control all the intermediaries involved in the transaction.

Improving internal communication

To improve the internal flow of information and extend it to partners without having to install a new system, a logistics company needs to find something that all the actors involved in its processes are already using. Since we are talking about transportation, the system should, ideally, be something that can work on mobile devices so that it can be used by drivers, warehouse workers, and other groups that normally work away from computer screens and offices.

Once the company has a tool with these characteristics its next step would be convincing people to use it and getting them accustomed to it. Unless, of course, it happens to be something they are already using every day, is already installed on their phones, and takes very little effort to start using. Something like a messaging app, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, or Messenger.

The idea may seem far-fetched at first, but it is not too different from what already happens in many companies, where operators in control rooms are constantly calling and receiving information from staff in the field. The difference is that on messaging apps the company could use something that has super-human abilities: chatbots.

What chatbots can do that humans can’t

Going on a cruise is the perfect holiday for many. It is a relaxing way to see the world, floating from port to port in a giant hotel and resort, with plenty of entertainment options to choose from… It sounds idyllic, but it is also an experience where relaxation is often dotted by moments of confusion and lots of queues.

If you work in the industry, this is probably not news for you. After all, cruise ships are incredibly complex and by the time passengers have learned where everything is and how to navigate the seemingly endless decks, their holiday is already coming to an end. Aside from all the excursions and off-ship activities, there are also restaurants to book, shows to attend, and rules to learn.

Improving communication

The key to improving passenger experience is communication. Crews do their best to inform passengers, but they are human beings and can’t be everywhere all the time. Cruise companies will often distribute newsletters and guides to help passengers, but these are often left behind in the cabin or never read.

If the cruise ship was a city, people would probably google all the information they need, using online maps to find their way to the pool or reserve a seat at their favorite restaurant. On the ship, the crew members are the onboard equivalent of Google. If a company could find a way to make their knowledge as easily accessible on the “high seas” as a search engine is on land, the problem would be solved.

An even better option would be for a Cruise company to combine the ease of use of a search engine with the capabilities of a booking system. This would allow passengers to not only find information about what is happening but also book revenue-generating services like premium restaurants or shore excursions. All while reducing confusion levels, cutting down on queues, and improving the passenger experience.

A simple solution

The solution we have just described might sound far-fetched, but it is actually surprisingly simple. There is, after all, a large but limited, number of things on each cruise, and therefore there is a finite number of possible answers and services that need to be provided.

All the cruise company needs to do is create a concierge-like system where passengers can have their questions addressed. Or, in other words, they need a chatbot. Modern chatbots are incredible systems, they can handle anything from simple FAQs to full conversations and some systems can even handle bookings and payments directly.

They can be set up to function on apps that passengers already have on their phones, like WhatsApp, WeChat, or Facebook Messenger, or on a dedicated app or page. In fact, as long as there is a Wi-Fi network, some of them can also function without the internet, as we discussed in a previous article. To learn more, reach out to our team by using the contact link below.