Costa Launches Online Video FAQs

Costa Cruises is catering more and more to the needs of its customers, including those who use the Internet to access the Company, with the aim of providing them with a service that will “exceed their expectations”.

The Italian cruise line’s latest innovation is the introduction of online video FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), a web-based resource conveying simply and effectively, by means of real life images, the information most commonly requested by Costa’s customers before they go on a cruise.

This innovative, cutting-edge Internet service will be available online by the end of December 2008 in 6 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese) on all 24 of Costa Cruises’ websites worldwide.

Until now, the FAQs have been included as a purely textual list of questions and answers without any specific involvement on the part of users looking for information.

The introduction of a series of video segments takes Costa Cruises’ FAQs to a higher level, giving the user direct access in an innovative way to the presentation of real life situations depicting the actual Costa cruise experience.

The video FAQs are arranged so as to enable users to find the answers they are looking for quickly and easily. In the FAQ section, users can view the video clips that go with each question, type keywords into the search engine and find their way around with the aid of the descriptions shown next to each scene.

In the first set of video FAQs two professional actors show how to book excursions and a range of shipboard services, how the embarkation procedure works, how to join CostaClub (the Company’s loyalty scheme), and many more situations providing information about cruise life on board.

The FAQ section will of course be part of Costa Cruises’ broad Web 2.0 approach: indeed, all of the video FAQs will be available in many settings using the most popular social media channels: with tools like Mobile video podcasts on iTunes, or devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and Nano, on YouTube (where a dedicated channel has been created), and including Costa Cruises’ brand new WebTV, on which the video FAQs will also be featured.

“We have always made research and innovation our top priorities in everything we do,” Costa Cruises Corporate eBusiness & Direct Sales Director Daniele Mancini says with some satisfaction. “With the video FAQs we have turned a standard one-way textual message into an extremely attractive communication and marketing engine. Over time, this section of – combined with the many social networking initiatives we are implementing, such as the recently introduced CostaWebTV – will become the most important area of the website, where Guests will be able to find all the information they need so they can actually start to savor the cruise experience before they come on board.”

In fact, it will be the users themselves, who will create and shape the message by suggesting new questions requiring answers to be added to the video FAQ section; this will generate more video clips and add power to the message insofar as it will be discussed, tagged, amplified by word of mouth and classified according to the preferences of the online community.

Thus the new videos will be shared by peer-to-peer communication, thanks to the rise of social media powered by Web 2.0, from iTunes to YouTube.

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