Case Study: Royal Caribbean Desktop Messenger

 How Royal Caribbean boosted sales with a Desktop Messenger

Royal Caribbean is UK cruise line that communicating with travel agents. To improve communication company created Desktop Messenger “Cruise Compass” to push instant messages. “Cruise Compass” sends news, offers, deals and product information to the desktop.


• 937 downloads March – September 2009
• Passengers booked to September 2009 increased by 26% year on year
• 59% of respondents were very satisfied with the widget; 41% were fairly satisfied
• 65% of respondents used the widget every day; 35% at least a few times a week

Source:  Utalkmarketing “How Royal Caribbean boosted sales with a Desktop Messenger”

Templates and Patterns

If you already tried SpreadHub you might have noticed that there are two items that look similar: templates and patterns. I’ll try to explain in this post what they mean.

SpreadHub is fully customizable solution. Templates allow you to change design of desktop alert pop-up window. Template is pre-made design. You can use one SpreadHub account to send alerts about your different sub brands. User grouping feature will help you to do it in easy way. But that’s not necessary that pop-up window should represent any of your brand.

Use templates to distinguish different types of alerts. For example urgent alerts that require attention you can design in red colors. Regular alerts – design in comfort blue color. For special offers – use colorful template.

This your default template.

With few clicks you can change template to any other, for example to this one or any other you will create.

Patterns are basically alerts that you use from time to time with minimal changes. You can design pattern and instead of writing of whole new alert every time – use pattern with necessary changes. Pattern is pre-made content. For example if you send Forex signals you can make patterns for Buy Signal and Sell Signal. When you need to send Buy Signal you just choose this pattern and insert correct number here.

Push or Pull Technology?


There are two different technologies regarding desktop alerts and messaging: push and pull.

Push technology means that desktop application that receives messages (Receiver) is passive and listens to all incoming information.

Pull technology means that the Receiver constantly checks a server if there is new message.

There is no better or worse technology. Each has pros and cons.

Push technology can instantly deliver messages, but can work only via protocols that support persistent connection. And that would be fine, but these protocols are not so widely used. Due to security reasons and corporate policies these protocols are blocked too often.

Pull technology cannot deliver message instantly. Just because the Receiver has to query a server from time to time and there is some time interval between these queries. The main benefit of this technology is that it works over any protocol that does not support persistent connections, like HTTP. That means that message can be delivered in any network, no matter how it can be diversed. It can be delivered via Internet, corporate networks, VPN’s , terminal services and any remote networks. In simple words: it can be delivered anywhere.

There are desktop alert systems that works using pull technology and there are desktop alerts that works using push technologies. Choose what is more important to you: instant delivery or ability to deliver anywhere.

Most desktop alerts that used for marketing purposes: to spread information to customers (like Ding, BBC Alerts), are using pull technology. SpreadHub uses pull technology as well.

Your own Ding!

DingDo you remember Southwest Airlines Ding ? Yes, that small desktop application that sits on your desktop and sends best deals.

Ding screenThe idea behind SpreadHub is to give ability to build your own Ding-like application. Why? Because Ding was (and still) a huge success. It was launched in February 2005 and in its first two years generated in 130 millions in fares and booking revenue. “45 percent of the flyers who have booked a flight featured on Ding come back for more

“What DING! gives Southwest is something much more valuable than filling seats on its planes. It gives them presence on computer users’ desktops. And that space is priceless.” “An icon on your desktop or in your system tray can be the equivalent of gold. It’s because these applications, services or Web links are constantly top of mind. There they are, all day. Staring at you while you gaze back at your monitor”
The High-Tech Texan Blog

Such desktop applications do more than just deliver news to desktop. It is new way of engagement and interaction with the customer. It brings your brand to the customer’s desktop, always behind their eyes, always delivering valuable information. It can be great addition to your email marketing efforts, solving the problems email has, like:

  • email filtered by SPAM filters

  • delay between delivery and email being read

  • hesitancy in providing personal data like email addresses