As a tech geek and admitted internet junkie, I usually hear a statement along the lines of "you need to disconnect while on vacation!". Yes yes, I know vacation is an opportunity to relax, not think about work, not be so plugged in, etc. So, what exactly do I do when I finally 'unplug'? I typically do the following: read a book, maybe watch a few movies, talk with friends and generally lounge around a lot. I suspect many of you do similar things on your vacations.
So, what does this have to do with the iPad and Cruise lines? I know this is going to be controversial … but I pose the following: We NEED to be connected TO relax!
On the surface, that sounds like an absurd statement. But think about what I (and probably most of you) actually do to relax: read a book … on my iPad (or Kindle). Watch a few movies … on my iPad. Talk with friends … on a skype connection over wifi, on my iPad.
Clearly more of our media and entertainment consumption will happen via the internet. And devices like the iPad (and Kindle) are increasingly made for lounging around. Lounging is the intended form. Hey, it's no coincidence that Steve Jobs demo'ed the iPad while sitting on a sofa chair.
Still not convinced that you NEED to be connected to relax? Just look at your kids (or neighbors kids) … when are they not connected? Here's a related article on NY Times: "If your kids are awake, they're probably online."
So what does this mean for Cruise lines?
Mainly, that the cost of wi-fi needs to come down. As more passengers bring these devices on board, they'll demand the ability to download a $ 12 book from Amazon without spending $ 28 for one hour wifi connection. This is actually an opportunity for Cruise lines. As wifi becomes more reasonable (think $ 10-15 per day), more passengers will sign up for it.
Cruise lines already know that younger consumers and solo cruisers are huge growth markets. Make getting online on your cruise ship quick and affordable … and you've got their attention.
There are also other revenue opportunities for Cruise lines. Connected passengers can book shore excursions or make dinner reservations. All from the comfort of their deck chair..with a cold drink..and an iPad. Now that's what I call vacation.