One of the most pronounced — and possibly permanent — effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is the shift in where work takes place and the corresponding shift in how companies and individuals feel about remote work.
Millions of people around the world began working from home — or at least out of their traditional office — in the last year.
And while the majority of the global workforce cannot work remotely, a McKinsey study finds up to one quarter of the workforce in advanced economies can do so for three to five days a week without losing effectiveness.
“Executives have indicated in surveys that hybrid models of remote work for some employees are here to stay. The virus has broken through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift
in where work takes place, at least for some people,” states the McKinsey report.
And with the vaccine rolling out around the globe and travel restrictions starting to lift, work from home can become work from anywhere.
That is — as long as “anywhere” offers reliable internet service.
Princess Cruises says its ships will offer the brand’s MedallionNet Wi-Fi service, whose “land-like” connectivity will make remote work and distance learning at sea possible.
Cruise in control
Now Princess Cruises wants those interested in remote work to know that its ships are viable options.
When the line returns to service — beginning with two ships sailing out of the UK Q3 this year for vaccinated UK residents — all 15 ships will offer the brand’s MedallionNet Wi-Fi service, which it says makes remote work and distance learning available
with “land-like” connectivity.
“Many cruise lines will claim to have guest Wi-Fi and they actually don’t — they have public area Wi-Fi. When we say guest Wi-Fi that means every stateroom has an access point as well," says John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival
Corporation, parent company of Princess Cruises.
"It’s not every other stateroom, it’s not every third stateroom, it’s not only in the hallway and opening up the door. It’s every public area, every guest area, every stateroom, every deck. There is no exception.
“I have complete confidence in it, anywhere in the world and any place on the ship.”
That confidence is prompting the cruise line to introduce a new marketing campaign targeting remote workers. In a news release announcing the concept, the cruise line says: “In a world where working remotely has become commonplace out of necessity, Princess
Cruises is delivering super-charged internet connectivity by leveraging a new constellation of satellites to offer the ultimate remote workstation — an office at sea.”
Padgett says as the brand reactivates its marketing efforts with the return to cruising Q3 this year, this new type of messaging will be a priority.
Starting at US$9.99 a day, Princess says the MedallionNet Wi-Fi service provides fast, reliable connectivity that’s strong enough for video conferencing at sea, whether sitting in a stateroom or lounge chair or walking around the deck.
According to the cruise line, the connection will only get better when its satellite technology partner, SES, launches a new constellation of satellites later this year.
Padgett says the combination of this advanced technology with the shift in work behaviour makes cruises a viable long-term living option.
“It used to be a comparison of a cruise vacation versus an alternative vacation. But in my view it starts to be — do I want to live on a cruise ship or do I want to live on land?” Padgett says.
“And you would have your stateroom cleaned, your food is included, entertainment there. I don’t have to pay for a separate gym... I have medical facilities... You’ll find you can live on a cruise ship, have great connectivity, travel the world, for cheaper
than you can live and eat at home.”
He also sees opportunity in marketing Princess Cruises as an alternative to traditional land-based meeting venues for business events — even hosting attendees on multiple ships in destinations around the world and connecting them via video conferencing.
“We think the rebirth of groups and conventions is a perfect place for us to be positioned in there as a new product offering,” Padgett says.
“Meeting planners are going to think differently than ever before. Hybrid groups and conventions, hybrid events — we can completely enable that because of the MedallionNet capability.”