Wearables

Carnival Cruises To Reveal Smart Medallion For Guests

What Walt Disney World learned a few years ago, Carnival is getting wind of. After WDW successfully launched a $1 billion vacation management system with the MyMagic+ band — complete with tracking personal information about what rides customers went on, where they went in the park, what they ate — Carnival is doing something similar.

Carnival is launching a similar system for the millions of passengers that hop aboard the cruise liners each year. Allowing access to special rooms and cocktails at the pool bar, the brand is planning on releasing a proprietary medallion for each guest. Each medallion will be carried in the guest’s pocket or worn as a jewelry piece. It currently carries the code name of “Trident.”

The smart, button-like, Turkish Nazar amulet-looking medallion is sent to guests’ homes right after they sign up for the cruise. Users enter their preferences when signing up, and they’re loaded onto the medallion, which also has the guest’s name engraved right on the piece. Within, there is Bluetooth and NFC technology, but Carnival said it doesn’t track the user the same way a smartphone does.

The medallion itself will be officially revealed on Thursday (Jan. 5) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Carnival operates more than 100 ships, but the medallion will make its debut on the company’s Princess Cruises line this year.

“People want the world to be organized around them. On vacation, even more so,” Arnold W. Donald, Carnival’s chief executive, told the New York Times. He admitted that the cost of the medallions would be in the millions of dollars and counting, but that it seems worth the cost for the guest and for profits. And analysts agree with the latter statement: Experts say profits will increase due to medallions linked to tickets, food, drinks, gambling and merchandise. On top of that, the medallions will come with the option to purchase accessories that will show off or make them more personalized and wearable.

Carnival isn’t the first one to cruise into the wearables space. Royal Caribbean Cruises has a smartband that doubles as a room key and is used for payments, as well as getting off and onto the ship. Carnival executives said their version will outperform Royal Caribbean’s band, notably because it isn’t a smartband but rather a medallion with “invisible” capabilities (like staying in the pocket).

Under Donald, the cruise line has bounced back after its series of issues on the water — specifically, a 17 percent increase in net income over the year before. That said, analysts say he is still on the hook to bring in new customers when cruise vacations only represent 2 percent of all vacations.

The company said the system and its technology will come with a lot of additions and changes, including retraining of employees and retrofitting of ships, notably adding 7,000 sensors per boat.

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