Cruise ships have become increasingly popular as a vacation destination, and with this increase in popularity comes a need for cruise operators to provide cutting-edge technology to enhance the guest experience. One such technology that has been gaining traction in recent years is interactive TV solutions, which can provide a range of features and benefits for cruise ship guests.
Buying or replacing an iTV device is a big deal for any business. Unfortunately, iTV devices are also very different from hospitality solutions, so not every solution is suitable for the hospitality industry. Let us take a look at the list you should consider before making a decision.
The first step in evaluating an interactive TV solution for your cruise ship is to identify your goals and requirements. Consider what features you want to provide to guests, such as on-demand movies, live TV channels, or interactive games. Also, consider the technical requirements for implementing an interactive TV solution, such as the need for high-speed internet and compatible hardware.
Let us start with what no one forgets: reviewing the user interface. The user experience is a critical component of any interactive TV solution. Guests should be able to easily navigate through the interface, access the features they want, and have a seamless viewing experience. Consider the user interface design, ease of use, and reliability of the solution. Do you like it? Can you easily customise it to your brand and preferences? Can your iTV provider change it the way you want? Also check if the user interface is intuitive and easy to use.
The content library is another important consideration when evaluating an interactive TV solution. Guests will expect a diverse range of content, including movies, TV shows, live TV channels, and music. Ensure that the solution you choose has a large and diverse content library that can meet the needs of your guests
On cruise ships, bandwidth can be very low or there may be no Internet connection at all (at least on the high seas). How will this affect your iTV solution? Will the lack of Internet affect the other functions of the system?
But the Internet is not the only problem. There could also be a problem with the coverage or content rights of certain TV channels. How does the solution inform guests about the temporary unavailability of all these features? Proper information can significantly reduce guest dissatisfaction and unnecessary calls to your staff.
The next question is the most common and the one where there will probably be the fewest differences. What features and entertainment options does the provider offer (e.g. live TV, timeshift, VOD, games, AOD, services, info, etc.)? Also, do not forget to ask if the solution offers itineraries and analytics to find out what guests buy/see the most. These features can significantly increase your revenue.
It may be that the solution meets all functional requirements, but is still difficult to use or just too technical. Does the solution have useful features that help administrators work faster and more efficiently (e.g., easy import of content from a device, hints, tips, etc.)? If the administrator has too much work to do with content, there will end up being no content at all, and that will not make you or your guests happy.
Technical support is critical for ensuring that your interactive TV solution runs smoothly and that any technical issues are resolved quickly. Consider the level of technical support provided by the vendor, such as 24/7 support, remote troubleshooting, and on-site support.
Never settle for mediocre customer service, at least not in the early stages of the project. It is very important that the iTV vendor is truly responsive, that they help you learn the iTV solution, and that they have an extensive knowledge base. Otherwise, you have a system, but no one is managing it, and consequently no one will use it. This is a scenario that should be avoided at all costs, and the result could even be worse than not having an iTV at all.
Can your iTV provider offer an "out-of-box" solution, or is the solution a mix of building blocks from their solution and that of a third-party vendor? This question is important because some third-party solutions are closed systems that are very difficult to manage. So how do they deal with system failures, security threats, new requirements and maintenance of these third-party solutions? You have probably heard it before: when a failure occurs, the problem always lies with the third-party vendors. ... or at least that's what they say. But an internal solution can significantly reduce response times.
Can an iTV provider ensure server separation and redundancy in the event of a failure without compromising the solution?
Your vessel's IT system is a complex system that works much better when all parts of the system are integrated and functioning as a whole. How does an iTV solution fit into this system? Does it have API integrations to all your systems (e.g., ship's backend, PMS, paging system - mute, GPS location, CCTV, etc.)? If not, will the vendor do the integration, and on what terms?
How can you make money and advertise with the iTV solution? What are the best methods to maximize profits? Ultimately, you want a solution that adds value to your business. Guest satisfaction is one of them, of course, but the question remains: How can I increase revenue through satisfied guests?
Cost is an important consideration when evaluating an interactive TV solution. Consider the total cost of ownership, including hardware, software, installation, and ongoing support. Compare the costs of different solutions and choose one that provides the best value for money.
Many iTV providers offer you a good deal ... until you find out it's not. Always ask what the price includes. Are there any costs that CAN incur after you sign the contract (e.g., do you have unlimited access to the system or do you have to pay every time you upload content)? Ask the iTV provider to tell you all the possible costs.
The vendor's reputation and track record are important considerations when evaluating an interactive TV solution. Consider the vendor's experience in the industry, the number of installations they have completed, and their track record for delivering high-quality solutions.
You will always sleep more peacefully if you choose a proven provider. Does he have references in the maritime industry and how long has he been working for these companies? Does he have letters of recommendation? Any kind of information will make the overall picture clearer.
Finally, get feedback from guests to ensure that the interactive TV solution is meeting their needs and expectations. Ask guests for feedback on the user experience, content library, and technical support, and use this feedback to make improvements and enhance the guest experience.
In conclusion, evaluating an interactive TV solution for your cruise ship requires careful consideration of your goals and requirements, the user experience, content library, technical support, cost, vendor reputation, and guest feedback. By following this ultimate guide, you can choose an interactive TV solution that provides a superior guest experience and meets the needs of your cruise ship.
One of the best ways to evaluate and compare vendors is to attend an event. Seatrade Cruise Global is one of the world's premier cruise industry events, where you can find a vendor that meets your needs. Make an appointment with us and we will be happy to answer all your questions and offer you a solution you can not refuse.
Get the guide to know everything that you need to consider before making a decision.