A few of the results achieved -
With the help from Knoldus professionals, the Global Cruise Vacation company's digital-first approach was able to transform their business and the cruising experience for their customers.
60% No. of ships to which the mobile
application was rolled out to so far
95% Percentage of guests using the mobile app
80% Reduction in time to deploy new features.
More than 40 years ago, our partner set out to create ships that astound and experiences that amaze. They are a large cruise vacation company, operating multiple brands globally, and representing 20% of the world's cruise market, and serve close to 5 million guests across the globe every year. The company offers varied itineraries across thousands of destinations on 60 ships, and operates across all seven continents.
Cruise guests expectations have changed with the advent of mobile and AI
Time is precious, now more than ever. Almost every minute is assigned and accounted for in the hustle and bustle of the day. So when people get a chance to take a holiday from their busy lives, they want a frictionless experience that supersizes the vacation fun. They expect an experience of being away while at the same time having all the connected comforts of home..
As the following picture depicts, a cruise involves many interdependent touch points with the customer - and any discrepancies therein may create suboptimal experiences. For example, long embarkation times, missing documentation during check-in etc.
For our partner, this meant redesigning the entire customer journey, changing the culture and processes in delivering technology products and innovating continuously to bring the guest experience into the digital age.
With this, the organization also wanted to streamline operations so that the crew members did not have to fill numerous forms that involved unnecessary manual work.
The global cruise vacation company wanted to achieve
Their agenda was to think differently about connecting with their guests, with their employees and also generate new revenue streams.
When Knoldus came onboard, the global cruise company was still in the early stages of its digital thinking. Guests had limited visibility to activities and amenities through a web portal and a minimal app. Once aboard, they received a daily printed newsletter detailing the events, activities, restaurants and menus, shore excursions and ports of call for the day. Further, to participate in an event or excursion, guests had to line up and sign up with the crew on a first-come, first-served basis.
This traditional approach was limiting, particularly for generations who were more accustomed to a digital-first mindset and were looking for a more streamlined and frictionless experience. In today's world, people expect the ease of technology in everything they do. They find it saves them time and effort, especially when on vacation, where time is one of the most important commodities they have.
From the technical perspective, there were significant challenges and roadblocks Knoldus have to overcome:
The organization had an age-old legacy system that was composed of monolithic applications. The system was bulky, tightly coupled, and constricted by old architectural models. As a result, the system could not evolve to accommodate new features and innovation.
Critical functionalities like bookings and reservations were operating on a monolithic architecture. These monoliths had to be leveraged for data migration and building the new microservices oriented application. There were excruciating migration steps and understanding the monolithic code was no cakewalk.
There was little personalization or micro-segmentation. Customer engagement was low as static content in the form of emails or flyers took the lead.
Data synchronization was another major challenge. As there's no internet connectivity at sea, there was no way to connect to the servers at the shore and sync up data once guests were onboard.
Each live environment corresponds to all the interactions with guests onboard a particular ship. Since the ship and shore side applications were distinct, we had to find a way to standardize the entire suite and ensure a consistent and flawless guest experience.
The deployment and maintenance of 60 such live environments was one of the biggest challenges
Earlier, data was being processed in batches, a technique that became redundant for the mobile app as it needed real-time streaming.
There was no mechanism to detect failures or anomalies within the entire system.
They had staggering amounts of data, and the difficulty has been in making intelligent use of that data.
This case study is a classic example of how Knoldus helps enterprises with legacy modernization and digital transformation.
The solution came in the form of a smart mobile application driven by microservices that digitized the guest experience and facilitated a seamless experience for employees also. The app has been built on reactive technology and has helped the company in shortening the development lifecycles through which, the company is constantly launching and testing out new features, and responding to changing customer feedback and expectations.
Knoldus delivered the complete range of mobile application backend systems for the cruise line so that the app can work seamlessly across all conditions. Our services helped the company achieve the following solutions:
We introduced reactive microservices between the monolithic legacy application and the mobile app to manage the entire range of functionalities. The reactive and responsive nature of the application makes sure that the system is fault-tolerant, self-healing and can respond to varying loads.
Knoldus implemented multiple real-time synchronization patterns between ships and shore including event sync, file sync, database sync using distributed technologies like Kafka, MinIO, Spark and Flink taking intermittent satellite connectivity into consideration. Our solutions made sure that guests do not experience app outages even when the ship loses connectivity at sea.
Knoldus spearheaded the engineering best practices from the ground up and enforced processes to complete CI/CD pipelines for microservice deployment. This impacted the culture in a positive way with firm control on production deployments and speed to delivery.
If there was an anomaly or breakdown of any component within the entire system, we ensured robust monitoring and alerting using Splunk, Prometheus, Graphite and Grafana to automatically notify instances of failure.
Knoldus laid the engineering foundation for data science, by designing and owning the analytics infrastructure powered by Kafka and Spark. This design is very challenging considering limited infrastructure available on ships. Knoldus used DCOS from Mesosphere innovatively to deploy Spark jobs.
Knoldus built and drove the centre of excellence for streaming and analytics including "Fast Data" technologies to help organizations leverage the pioneered patterns.
Knoldus implemented Geo-fencing from scratch, allowing guests to track their live location throughout the entire cruise and receive timely updates about excursions based on their location.
We helped the cruise vacation company to provide their guests with digital experiences to remember with location-aware, immersive audio tours along with live weather updates during the cruising journey.
We are also enabling seamless check-in for crew members, eliminating the paperwork previously required. The crew application also facilitated team member communication while aboard.
Once a guest logs into the app, they are now given personalized recommendations according to their cruising history.
The app provides a smooth interface for dining and entertainment, including delivery and on-demand ordering services.
Knoldus streamlined and digitized all phases of the guest experience - from online booking, pre-cruise activities, onboarding, cruise experiences, debarkation and more - as well as improving the cruise company's operations and sustainability.
With the help of Knoldus's microservices solution, there is an 80% reduction in time to deploy a new feature. The cruise company continuously rolls out and tests new features and can evolve with ever-changing consumer feedback and expectations.
The solution empowers a robust cruising experience facilitated from an intuitive mobile application and helps operationalize a consistent experience throughout all ship to shore touchpoints.
The mobile application was rolled out to 60% of the ships of the global company.
The synchronization of real-time guest information across all data centers on ships and shore was made possible with Kafka, connectors and replicators.
We ensured a loosely coupled architecture which means changes implemented on one component will not affect the others. Hence, the system was made resilient, fault-tolerant, and responsive to the varying traffic loads.
Customer satisfaction was enhanced by 89% and almost 95% of guests now use the mobile application for their cruise journeys.
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In case your organization is also seeking modernization of the legacy applications or a complete digital transformation solution, you can reach out to us. With the Knoldus team's help, integrate, automate, personalize and improve guest satisfaction, increase onboard revenue and lower costs.
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