Celebrity Cruises has diversified its marketing approach and branched out into the metaverse to showcase the cruising sector to new audiences
Celebrity Cruises launched a metaverse programme for its newest ship, Celebrity Beyond. Prospective customers can immerse themselves in digital travel experiences as avatars.
Celebrity Cruises launched a metaverse programme for its newest ship, Celebrity Beyond. Prospective customers can immerse themselves in digital travel experiences as avatars. Celebrity Cruises is the pioneer in incorporating the metaverse into the cruising sector, while such experiences have already been incorporated within hospitality and other major travel verticals, such as destinations.
The Wonderverse virtual world enables users to explore a virtual replica of the ship and view the various amenities offered. Users can interact with each other and enter a dedicated meeting space to enable first-hand experience of the camaraderie of cruising holidays.
The metaverse experience also includes mini-games to engage with users. The platform allows users to customise their avatars so that they can show off their creativity and distinctive personalities. A key feature is the ability to speak to virtual versions of Celebrity Cruises' staff and also to view highlights from the ship's destinations and various stops along their itinerary.
The platform has currently been kept very simple, but Celebrity Cruises expect to release updates to improve the user experience based on customer feedback. The company's initial ideas for future developments are to open up the ship's interior for users to explore; enabling the different types of cabins to be viewed and let customers decide which one best suits their needs. Other suggestions include enhancing the digital showcases of the destinations and excursions offered. Based on the success of this test, virtual versions of the rest of Celebrity Cruises' fleet may also be developed.
The main reason for Celebrity Cruises launching this new innovative initiative is to target and appeal to new markets, especially those new to cruises. Such virtual tours are part of a growing trend of consumers taking a try-it-before-you-buy-it approach for leisure purchases.
According to CLIA's 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, the average age of cruise passengers is getting younger, with millennials the most likely to be repeat visitors. Therefore, the metaverse experience is a great opportunity to reach younger demographics and overcome the assumption that cruising is only for senior travellers.
The platform's functionalities include recording and screenshots so that the experience can be relived and remembered. This provides the opportunity for users to share their avatar's encounter with their travel companions to aid in the joint decision-making process of groups.
Another key feature is that the Wonderverse virtual world facilitates bookable experiences in an attempt to capitalise on the engagement of users. Celebrity Cruises expect to invest further into the metaverse and identify the importance for its brand and appeal of its first-mover advantage. This also allows them to test and identify the drivers of success of marketing in the metaverse and demonstrate the return on investment. They envision the long-term evolution of their Wonderverse virtual world to become an e-commerce platform. Celebrity Cruises can also use the Wonderverse platform during their various virtual events to better display their cruising products.