At Phocuswright, Princess' John Padgett talks technology and creating value
20.11.2023 - 15:38
HOLLYWOOD, FLA. -- Princess Cruises president John Padgett was credited with leading the development of the MagicBand, one of the travel industry's first wearables, when he worked for Disney.
Similarly, he drove the creation of Princess' Ocean Medallion when he was chief experience and innovation officer at Carnival Corp.
But he told an audience of travel technologists attending the Phocuswright Conference on Tuesday that his focus has never been on technology but about finding new ways to address guest experience.
"It's not about finding a better gimmick, it's about business strategy," he said. "It's about truly getting to personalization at scale. When people talk about personalization, they think about putting your name on an email, but that experience is not unique to you. It doesn't consider your needs, wants and desires in real time."
But if you do that, he said, you create value. "It's about the experience that the technology enables, not about technology. That's one of the most misunderstood things."
Padgett said that more data is captured on a single cruise today than had been created during most of the existence of the cruise industry. "But capturing a lot of data doesn't make you any smarter," he continued. The key, he said, is to convert that data into real-time intelligence and action. "That's what we're currently focused on. We're really good at it, but need to become better at it."
And that's where machine learning and artificial intelligence come in, he said. "Those technologies accelerate your progression through data, information, intelligence and action. The key is to get to that action at the right moment in time."
Where traditional customer relationship management models get it wrong, he said, is that they want to create a profile and then market to the profile. "They want to stick you in a box," he said. "But in travel, every individual has many personas, based on who they're traveling with at any point in time. You're a much different person when you're traveling with your children than when you're with your husband, or alone, or with college friends." That, he said, is why it's critical to get information that reflects the person in real time.
As for the nature of innovation, Padgett said that "a lot of times people think about innovation as a project. They do the project, it's innovative, and they think they can check innovation off their list and move on. The way I see it, the world is very dynamic. Consumers are very dynamic. The market is very dynamic. Technology is always changing.
And you have to have the mindset that you're constantly aware that you're never quite there with innovation in all these aspects and with the brand as a whole."
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