MSC Cruises is one step ahead of rival cruise operators with the launch of its digital concierge
MSC Cruises is one step ahead of other cruise operators with the launch of first-of-its-kind digital cabin assistant Zoe. This technology represents a turning point for the industry, with other companies bound to follow suit.
The digital concierge has been launched on newly delivered MSC Bellissima, in each of the cabins. It will next be rolled out on MSC Grandiosa when it is delivered in November this year.
MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato told a conference session on innovation at Seatrade Cruise Global that Zoe was the “most exciting innovation we have launched”. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing, Zoe will be able to answer hundreds of questions about life on board, help with excursion and restaurant reservations, check bills and deal with a huge range of customer queries.
It gives MSC an important competitive edge, being able to answer an impressive 800 questions in seven languages and 30 different accents from across the globe.
But what puts MSC ahead of competitors, and will make other cruise operators look to emulate this concept, is that Zoe does not sit still. Artificial intelligence means it will keep on growing and developing. 800 questions are just the start. Zoe will learn by use, so every time there are new questions and Zoe does not yet know the answers, it will go into the server to collect the answer. Furthermore, while it will start with seven languages, the aim is to boost this to 10. And MSC is already looking to the future by aiming to offer even more personalised service using Zoe’s machine learning activity.
MSC Cruises will benefit as pressure on the cruise ship guest service desk will be eased and passenger communications with crew will improve as this will take place to create added value.
There is pressure in the cruise industry to constantly up its game and produce the ‘wow’ factor. We have seen this in many areas including innovative venue construction, such as Celebrity Edge’s Magic Carpet, to guest experience platforms such as Carnival Corp’s Ocean Medallion and MSC for Me interactive technology. This pattern is likely to be repeated when it comes to cruise operators emulating Zoe.
Indeed, Zoe has also been integrated into MSC for Me, taking this platform to a new level, something that other operators with similar guest platforms will surely be interested in.
However, it will not be an easy process for other operators to follow suit. Zoe underwent extensive testing in areas from speech recognition, transforming speech to text and vice versa, to other behavioural and performance tests, with 400 people involved in its training.
This hard work will pay off for MSC Cruises and its customers. MSC has introduced a ground-breaking technology to the cruise business, one that will result in plenty of benefits for the cruise operator, which will only keep accumulating as this artificial intelligence product is further developed.