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How AIDA Cruises keeps the love alive — through good times and bad

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Challenge

After just one week aboard the AIDAnova in the Mediterranean Sea, Kea Hansen was hooked on cruising. 

“What you see on the website and what you see on social media doesn’t do it justice," Hansen says.

As part of the German cruiseliner’s social media team, Hansen went on her first-ever cruise with her mother in 2019 — to celebrate their birthdays and to experience AIDA Cruises’ product first-hand. Although it’s Hansen’s day job to keep track of multiple social media accounts and engage with guests as they document some of the best moments of their lives, she had not yet seen things first-hand.

“It was an emotional experience,” she says.

And Hansen’s not alone in that feeling. With more than 84% brand recognition in German-speaking countries, AIDA has established itself as what it calls a “love brand” — and passions run deep for both employees and customers. AIDA has more than a million fans following its owned social media accounts, in addition to tens of thousands of AIDA-lovers who have self-organized into dozens of online communities.

When the global pandemic grounded all 14 of AIDA’s vessels for several months, the company had to find ways to keep the love alive online. As dream vacations were postponed, AIDA turned its focus to increasing customer engagement with the goal of knowing and understanding customers’ needs, concerns, and general mindset.

“You should always listen to your loved ones,” Hansen says. “And not just the good stories.”

To listen closely to its loved ones, AIDA needed to:

  • Engage more personally with customers and community members

  • Keep guests informed about what is happening in the cruise industry — especially at AIDA Cruises and its fleet 

  • Monitor keywords and trending topics to mitigate potential crises

  • Evaluate social data and report out on wins and opportunities

Solution

AIDA first partnered with Sprinklr in 2017 with the goal of nurturing long-term relationships with guests. As a well-known and beloved brand with a huge, active online community, their primary focus was community management. The company’s small social team implemented Sprinklr to better manage its social content workflow and to stay on top of inbound messages and mentions across social channels related to a broad range of services aboard AIDA’s ships, including restaurants, bars, entertainment, ship operations, and excursions. 

Since then, AIDA’s social media team has leveraged Sprinklr Social Publishing & Engagement and Social Listening. Social Publishing and Engagement enables the social team to manage brand content and publishing across social channels and respond to customer engagement, as needed, using automated workflows. Social Listening allows them to capture the true pulse of customer and community sentiment in real-time. As they tune-in to relevant topics across social channels, they are able to glean actionable insights from AI-enriched data. The team follows keywords for each ship under sail, keeping close tabs on guest sentiment and monitoring social conversations for potential issues, such as an accident on board or while on a hiking excursion. 

“It is quite hard to keep a handle on things if you’re not using Sprinklr. It’s just information overload and not manageable,” says Hansen, who has engagement dashboards for each ship. “With Sprinklr’s platform, you can see all the action happening across all platforms in one place.” Better still, the social media team can easily and quickly generate and share reports or dashboards with each other and with other AIDA teams that need engagement metrics and to know about shifts in guest sentiment.

It is quite hard to keep a handle on things if you’re not using Sprinklr. It’s just information overload and not manageable. With Sprinklr’s platform, you can see all the action happening across all platforms in one place.

Kea Hansen
Social Media Specialist
AIDA Cruises

Outcome

The ability to listen to and engage with AIDA community members, through thick and thin, became even more critical during the pandemic. As cruise ships were docked and trips were canceled, the company wanted to make sure its community members felt seen, heard, and cared for — even if they weren’t cruising. 

When tourism ground to a halt in early 2020, AIDA was better positioned than many to weather the shutdown. Though its entire fleet was eventually docked and no cruises took place for months, AIDA was able to stay in close touch with its guests and community members because of the engagement capability it had already implemented with Sprinklr three years prior. Dashboards, social listening, alerts and an updated tagging structure helped them monitor COVID-related concerns and reassure guests when ships were docked — and when ships began cruising again under new regulations.

While customer sentiment has always been overwhelmingly positive, Hansen says there was a significant shift during the pandemic. People still loved AIDA, but they were also worried about COVID-19 protocols around testing, vaccinations, and day-to-day life aboard AIDA’s cruise ships. There was a sharp increase in service-related topics on social channels.

“That’s why we tracked this especially,” says Hansen. “To see what people felt uncertain about, so that we could educate and reassure them about how we would keep them safe while cruising with us.”

Customer:

AIDA Cruises

Industry:

Travel & Hospitality

Company Size:

15,000 employees

Location:

Rostock, Germany

Products Featured:

Social Engagement & Sales

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