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Carnival Cruises to Personalization
A revamp of the cruise line marketer's Web site has created a more compelling customer experience.
Creating a relevant e-commerce experience for your customers and prospects is no longer merely an ideal or gimmick. In fact, most marketers increasingly see Web personalization simply as the cost of doing business. When the world's largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines, decided to redesign its Web site, personalization was a key component. Serving as many as 3.3 million passengers annually, Carnival understood that a more personalized e-commerce experience would allow it to deliver richer, better-timed and targeted content to all its customers, thereby boosting customer satisfaction and Carnival's own bottom line.
The Voyage to Redesign
Working with Seattle-based interactive agency Avenue A/Razorfish, Carnival's personalization efforts were part and parcel of a complete Web site overhaul, incorporating new creative, search capabilities and the integration of the company's reservation systems. "We had to revamp the Web site for many reasons," says Diana Rodriquez-Velazquez, director, Internet and database marketing for Carnival Cruise Lines. "From a system integration perspective, it was time to do an overhaul," she says. "At the time, we also had a need for content management, and we just needed to better brand the site. … And since we were basically going under the hood, we did a very thorough analysis of what we needed."
Carnival needed a better way to bring targeted content to its customers in the various stages of the purchase cycle. Prior to the overhaul, all Carnival Web site visitors were treated as prospects, whether they had a prior relationship with the cruise marketer or not. The focus was on selling a cruise. Past guests and those who already had booked their cruise needed to navigate the site to find relevant information.
"We didn't want people to get buyer's remorse," notes Rodriquez-Velazquez, which could be the case if the customer booked a trip to Alaska, but then comes to the Web site only to see a half-price promotion for a cruise to the Western Caribbean. Following the revamp, customers still have to navigate the site to find pricing, even if already booked on another voyage, however, the site now delivers much more relevant content to fit each customer's particular stage in the purchasing process. "A big part of it was that we wanted to reduce cancellation rates—and we have," says Rodriquez-Velazquez.