Written by Matt Caprioli, Content Marketer

Last week, Viking Line, the premier cruise line for the Baltic Sea, became the first in its region to launch an on-board digital app for its passengers.

Viking Line realized early on that digital transformation was an opportunity to provide more value to customers. To leverage the possibilities of digital space, they partnered with the Finnish mobile solutions company Ixonos. Ixonos is a leader in UX design, and has created mobile solutions for Honda, Al Jazeera, Intel, and Samsung and many others.

Ixonos, an eZ partner, used eZ Publish Platform to build an innovative, on-board app that Viking Line customers would never forget. Passengers can now do a range of activities online that they couldn’t do before: create private groups, make shopping lists, even upload photos for on-board dating.

“On-board mobile phone coverage has traditionally been weak,” Kaj Takolander, Viking Line Head of Sales and Marketing in Finland and the Baltic countries, said. “The new app uses the vessel’s internal network, which has also been strengthened. This makes communication among families and friends easier during a cruise.”

Ixonos designed several features that will allow customers to get the most of their time on-board:

  • Multichannel content delivery and engagement platform using smartphones (iOS & Android)
  • More in-cabin digital signage screens
  • On-board social media so passengers can meet like-minded people
  • On-board chat so passengers can chat with each other and Viking Line staff on-board, even when cell phone coverage or Web access is unavailable
  • Tax free on-board sales platform where passengers can create shopping lists, read product information and engage with branded content

“The ship itself is a challenging environment for digitization,” said Mikko Sjöblom, Business Director at Ixonos. “Each ship of Viking Line fleet is unique which means that service contents must be easily customizable both by the crew and the land organization. In addition to this, the passenger service path is always a personal one and also varies during the cruise…Viking Line wanted to challenge the traditional services and bring solutions closer to the customer.”

The Viking Line app is powered with eZ Publish Platform, using eZ's content repository as a core component.

As Sjöblom elaborated, “eZ was implemented as the content management solution for the on-board digital platform. Content from eZ is displayed on-board Viking Line ships for mobile app, browser UI, in-cabin TV’s and digital signage screens.”

Unified travel experience = more business & happy customers

The Viking Line's re-focus on digitalization was also recognized as an untapped path toward improved monetization and operational methods.

Customers can now shop (pre-order, shop tax-free, make shopping lists, promote items they found helpful), socialize (meet new people and keep in touch with friends, other passengers and staff), and stay up to date on cruise events or create their own cruise programs.

“Digitalization is highly important from the sales angle because over 70% of sales are made online,”  Takolander said. “And this trend is only going to grow in the future. Viking Line has systematically developed the digital customer experience and the app is one essential part of that.”

The app is only a week old, but is projected to be used at a very large scale in the future. Once the platform is running on seven ships, it will reach Viking Line's nearly seven million annual customers. 

Ixonos, together with eZ, will continue innovating through in-context, cross-channel digital services that improve end user experiences and boost business.

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