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Carnival lets consumers book cruises on the fly via mobile

February 25, 2011

Ordering take-out dinner or movie tickets from your phone is one thing, but Carnival Cruise Lines is stepping up its game with a new commerce-enabled mobile Web site that lets users book entire cruise vacations on the go.

Efficiency was Carnival’s top priority, and the site is designed to provide a simple, seamless Web experience for users, letting users breeze through the browse-to-purchase process. The homepage features four main sections: find a cruise, specials, destinations and the fun ships.

“[The site] represents the first time we’ve implemented a single-page checkout process into a mobile site,” said Christopher Mason, managing director of Branding Brand, Pittsburgh, PA. “This is especially groundbreaking on mobile, where a fast, streamlined cart is critical.

“It’s the first site to have a single-page checkout,” he said.

Mobile matters
Carnival’s mobile site is essentially a trimmed-down version of the PC site, carrying over the same logos and color scheme, as well as its popular FAQ and Special Offers pages.

“Our technology made it easy for Carnival to pick and choose which elements they wanted to bring in from their main site,” Mr. Mason said.

Users on the mobile site can search for and book cruises, access their account, view specials, learn about different destinations and ships, access customer service, read articles and connect with the brand on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

A look inside what Carnival’s mobile site offers users.

“Having a mobile site is important because brands are already receiving large bands of mobile traffic—for many businesses, mobile visitors make up a double-digit percentage of their total site traffic,” Mr. Mason said.

Integration of Facebook
The use of social media outlets such as Facebook have been instrumental in helping Carnival drive sales, as users can share photos and stories of their experiences from different cruise ships.

Carnival’s Facebook app was launched in August 2010 partially in response to data that showed how heavily recommendations factor into users’ decision to book a trip.

Also new for Carnival is the launch of its Facebook commerce integration, built by Branding Brand, which allows fans to search for, share and book cruises directly in Facebook. More than 500,000 users are fans of the Carnival Cruise Lines Cruise Shopper.

The heavy use of Facebook and the launch of a mobile Web site reflect Carnival’s confidence that its customers are willing make purchases as extensive and pricey as a cruise—without the comfort of a full desktop computer.

“When brands don’t have a mobile site, they are ignoring this entire audience that is already trying to interact with them,” Mr. Mason said. “Having a mobile site is like opening another door to your business.

“As soon as you turn it on, you will see results,” he said.

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