Costa Cruises today announced a strategic partnership with WeChat to "pioneer the digitization of the cruise experience," according to a statement.
Costa will become the first cruise brand to launch a series of Mini Programs on WeChat that aims to enhance the guest experience.
Mini Programs are thefeature that allow WeChat users to instantly open and access services inside WeChat without having to download the full standalone mobile app, thus giving users faster experience.
“As an industry pioneer and leader, Costa Cruises constantly innovates to provide new offerings that exceed guests' expectations. Riding on the digitalization trends in China, we are thrilled to digitize the onboard experience for Chinese guests in partnership with WeChat. The launch of the Mini-Programs marks the first step in our ongoing efforts to deliver the most delightful cruise experience leveraging the power of digital technology," said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia.
The Mini Program can potentially be used by guests to check-in at the port terminal, navigating around the cruise ship, automating room features in the cabin, communicating with guest services, ordering room service and sharing dining experiences at the restaurant and receiving personalized tour routes and guided information for shore excursions.
“Costa's series of Mini Programs is a first for the cruise industry, and features many innovations and breakthroughs. It uses a combination of Mini Programs that enable domestic and cross border payments to serve cruise guests across different scenarios, demonstrating the potential business value of Mini Programs. We believe there will be more innovative cases in different industries in the future," said Juliet Zhu, Head of WeChat Marketing.
To date, Costa Cruises has already launched two Mini Programs on WeChat with a third Mini Program in the pipeline:
Mini Program 1 was released in August, which enables guests to explore and book cruises through WeChat directly.
Mini Program 2 was introduced in September, which enables guests to explore and if they want to browse and book specialty restaurants, spa, duty free shopping and other onboard services through the free intranet services, without subscribing to onboard internet services.
Mini Program 3, the “Today", is able to help guests to arrange activities from day to night directly by feeding each guest customized suggestions of onboard programs matched to their interests, based on information they provide. It also features a service center which offers comprehensive information to assist guests' overall vacation. It was showcased at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt conference held in San Francisco, and will be available in November at all China fleet.