Case Study and Experience

Pixvana & Seabourn create a virtual reality training solution for cruise waitstaff

AboutSeabourn Cruise Line is an ultra-luxury cruise line with a fleet of all-suite ships. They operate all around the world, from short seven-day Caribbean cruises to exotic 100+ day trips.

IndustryTourism

HeadquartersSeattle, WA

Read Time5 Minutes

Overview

Training hundreds of waitstaff of in a shorter time period

Ultra-luxury Cruise Line Seabourn and Pixvana partnered to create Seabourn TableVision, a custom XR training solution designed to shorten the time it takes to train 100s of waitstaff.

Seabourn Picture Compilation

Results

Eliminating the significant time required to manually set up each training experience

Thanks to its interactive elements and immersive learning environment, Seabourn TableVision helps new waitstaff get up to speed while eliminating the significant time required to manually set up each physical training experience.

Seabourn Cruise Ship

The Challenge

Ultra-luxury Seabourn Cruise Line had a problem. When a ship’s enormous dining room has 105 tables and is constantly in use, how can you train new waitstaff? With world-class service at the forefront of their promise, the Seabourn team is continually pushing the boundaries of hospitality, accomodation, and service, and cold meals are not acceptable.

At Seabourn’s Fleet Learning and Development, lead specialist Rocky Sudlesky thought immersive learning might be able to help. The challenges were formidable: waitstaff had to train onboard a ship while it’s in full operation, in a complex room that’s perpetually occupied by passengers and cleaning crew.

“I am committed to identifying ongoing business challenges and pursuing new and creative ways to solve them,” Sudlesky said. “I saw great potential in the power of XR to revolutionize the way we train our cruise line’s team. I was confident that the right learning experience built in XR would not only save time and money, but deliver a much more powerful training experience for our staff, increasing engagement and retention.”

Under the existing system, waitstaff only had a single 30-minute training session in the dining area. To prepare for this session, a learning and development specialist manually circled the room, placing and eventually clearing numbered labels on each of the tables. Servers used this system of numbered tables to orient themselves in a complex dining room to ensure that meals arrived promptly at the correct seat.

After the 30-minute training, waitstaff then had to rely on a printed pocket map to memorize the room’s intricate layout of 105 tables and twelve serving stations. With this system, mastery of the dining room typically took two to three months. Confident that a better approach could be created, Sudlesky partnered with the Pixvana team to overcome these boundaries and create a superior training experience using XR.

Sudlesky began by purchasing a VR camera, adding numbered table tents to each of the tables, and photographing the dining room himself, but he quickly realized that he needed help.

“While I was excited to try my own hand at VR, it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have all the necessary tools and skills for the task,” said Sudlesky. “One constraint was that I only had the ability to label the tables in physical reality, which meant they were difficult to see and impossible to hide (eliminating the option to quiz yourself). Also, the project didn’t meet the standard of quality the Seabourn brand represents. Still, though, I had an inkling that the right XR solution could fundamentally transform the waitstaff training experience. So, I turned to the pros.”

I saw great potential in the power of XR to revolutionize the way we train our cruise line’s team. I was confident that the right learning experience built in XR would not only save time and money, but deliver a much more powerful training experience for our staff, increasing engagement and retention.

Rocky Sudlesky
Learning Development

The Solution

A world-class custom XR training solution

Seabourn VR

Sudlesky and the Pixvana team created Seabourn TableVision, a world-class custom XR training solution designed to shorten the time it takes to master the dining room, increase flexibility and engagement, and decrease time and cost.

By partnering with Pixvana, Sudlesky got access to a team of XR professionals. More importantly, he got access to their secret weapon: SPIN Studio. After shooting gorgeous 8k footage aboard a Seabourn ship, the Pixvana team used SPIN Studio to process and edit the footage in a flash. In the editor, they applied over 300 post-production assets including branded graphic labels over the tables that can be toggled on and off to create a highly interactive, intuitive, and information-packed experience.

“SPIN Studio, Pixvana’s proprietary XR platform, provides a comprehensive suite of easy-to-use tools to simplify the entire process of creating, editing, and sharing XR content. Whether you’re making your first XR experience or your hundredth, SPIN Studio is a straightforward and powerful way to deliver impactful VR experiences custom-tailored to meet your needs.”

Seabourn Cruise Ship

The Result

Seabourn cuts down on waistaff training time

The Seabourn team initially wanted to create a VR replica of their dining room, but quickly found that VR offered far more than a simple reproduction of a physical space. Thanks to its interactive elements and immersive learning environment, Seabourn TableVision helps new waitstaff get up to speed while eliminating the significant time required to manually set up each physical training experience.

SPIN Studio software includes a sharing tools, which make deploying experience like TableVision simple and nearly instantaneous. Using SPIN Guide, Seabourn can simultaneously share the experience with a fleet of headsets, run training sessions in offline mode (which is essential when its ships are many miles out at sea), and accessed on 2D devices (like mobiles, tablets, and computers) from anywhere around the globe. TableVision has already been deployed on a Seabourn cruise to train the newest members of the Seabourn team.

The program’s rollout included a controlled test to collect measurable data and evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. The Seabourn and Pixvana teams are eagerly awaiting results. After rolling out TableVision across each of Seabourn’s custom dining rooms, the cruise line will investigate further partnership opportunities with Pixvana, exploring additional uses for this breakthrough technology.

“Our team lights up when we get the chance to collaborate with clients like Rocky and the rest of the Seabourn team,” said Lanham. “It’s invigorating to partner with a client who is willing to push the envelope and doesn’t shy away from exploring new, innovative ways to solve daunting business challenges. We are enthusiastic about helping clients take the leap into the future of engaging, distraction-proof learning experiences that redefine the very way we understand training.”

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