Costa extra: the business portal for Costa Cruises
How can you provide daily support and inspiration for the people in an indirect-sales network covering several international markets via a digital-services platform?
Costa extra is the service platform dedicated to Costa Cruises’ trade channel. It is a focal point for all Costa’s business-development efforts in the Italian, French, Spanish and Chinese markets.
Costa Cruises has no distribution network of its own; it uses thousands of agencies large and small throughout each market. Cruise products still typically represent only a small percentage of the agencies’ business, although the sector is growing fast and has great potential.
Costa extra springs from Costa Cruises’ desire to maintain and foster constant valuable contact with the travel agencies and individual travel agents. The company wanted to offer them useful, exclusive services, content and tools with a fast, reliable channel for training, exchanging ideas, and listening to their needs on digital, marketing, communication, problem-solving, monitoring and sales matters.
Logotel used its People-focused approach to support the Costa Cruises Sales & Marketing department in creating the Costa extra business portal. The two teams worked side by side to design a digital environment that gives Costa Cruises a unique and highly differentiating ability to work synergically with the people in its distribution network. It enables everyone to develop and to become more competitive in increasingly innovative and future-proof ways.
Costa extra was created by a multidisciplinary team of service designers, training and e-learning experts, community managers, digital designers, web developers and data analysts. It debuted in Italy in 2013.
The business portal aims to facilitate the travel agents’ operational tasks, to optimise information flows, and to make a real difference in their everyday work. Editorial content and tools about the products and offers is published daily.
The project has developed year by year into a tool and service hub.
Since 2016, Costa extra has also included the Costa Academy, a multi-level points-based training pathway covering topics from agency marketing to sales, digital and social media.
The business portal now links up more than 26,000 travel agents, who log in throughout the day every day from any kind of device in order to:
- read the latest sales news about products and offers;
- learn on the many training courses;
- use increasingly powerful and precise booking tools;
- use end-customer engagement tools from vouchers to discounts and free gifts;
- share success stories and stay in touch with the Costa world.
In the space of two years, the community has also spread to France and Spain with Costaextra.fr and Costaextra.es. A Logotel editorial team is stationed at the Costa headquarters in Paris and Madrid.
After eight months of work, Costa extra – now established in the three European markets – went live on 6 July 2017 in China. Costaextra.cn is the mobile-first platform that provides a new focus for all Costa Cruises’ business-development efforts in the Far East.
Costa extra continues to grow, and the Logotel team is working with Costa Cruises to roll out the business portal to many other emerging markets.
THE PROJECT IN FIGURES
26,000 registered users on the business portal
19,400 travel agencies worldwide served by Costa extra
4 languages spoken on Costa Extra (Italian, French, Spanish and Chinese)
4 countries involved