How Viking Cruises launched an innovative online booking portal with Magnolia CMS


Hospitality & Travel


United States

In just six weeks, Viking Cruises launched a seamless online booking portal with Magnolia CMS as the central content hub.

Viking Cruises is the world's leading river cruise line and a leader in small ship ocean cruising. The company operates a fleet of over 70 state-of-the-art vessels, with several more ships on the way. Each year, over 400,000 guests join the cruise line on nearly 200 itineraries and 3,500 excursions.

With their fleet and global reach growing, Viking received an influx of digitally savvy customers. These customers wanted seamless self-service features and the ability to engage with Viking across a range of digital channels. The company knew it needed a modern digital platform to keep up with these growing demands for cutting-edge customer experiences.

By choosing Magnolia CMS as a centralized content hub, Viking was able to launch an innovative online booking portal, as well as streamline its digital and print content—all in just six weeks.  


The Challenge

Building an Online Booking Portal

Viking Cruises needed to satisfy tech-savvy customers around the world who were demanding a self-service booking portal that enabled them to view, book and manage Viking Cruises from desktops, mobile devices and even IoT devices.

Viking Cruises realized this would require a headless CMS solution that facilitates omnichannel delivery. At the same time, the cruise company understood that going headless was only a partial solution. The company also needed a marketer and business-friendly CMS that would simplify workflows, content creation and personalization across devices, regions and market segments. 

Managing a large volume of digital assets and content

Viking Cruises’ continued growth led to an accumulation of over 1 million digital assets. Those assets came in the form of short and long descriptions of their ships, high-resolution images, and many other complex formats to support digital and print mediums.

Viking needed a way to store these assets in a centralized location and also needed simple workflow capabilities to edit, approve and publish the assets collaboratively across global teams and offices. The company also wanted a headless solution that could support omnichannel experiences and knew that flexible content modelling would be crucial.


The Solution

A centralized global content hub

Viking chose to use Magnolia as a content hub to power its websites and online booking portal. Crucial to this solution are hybrid capabilities, flexible content models, Amazon S3 integration and market-friendly workflows.

Hybrid CMS

Viking uses Magnolia as a headless CMS to power its website with a variety of API calls. The company found an ideal solution between headless and traditional using Magnolia's flexible hybrid capabilities. Magnolia’s ability to provide tailored payloads, with only the relevant data required, allows Viking to deliver contextualized experiences.

Flexible content models and S3 integration

The company also integrated Magnolia with its image repository on the AWS S3 storage service using the Magnolia Amazon S3 Connector module. Using Magnolia’s S3 connector, Viking can view and manage digital assets as if they were residing in Magnolia, yet realize the benefit of scalable asset delivery.  Magnolia also made it easy for Viking to define content models that fit with its complex content and asset relationships, and iteratively change them throughout the implementation process to fine tune the solution.  This flexibility allowed the Viking team to experiment with changes in the content model without sacrificing the go-live date.

Configurable workflows

Most of the solutions Viking looked at had core CMS features, but insufficient capability to tailor the workflow features associated with them. With Magnolia, Viking set up workflows appropriate for the content or asset and the teams responsible for managing them.  With standard configuration, separate review queues and notifications were deployed to streamline the publishing process.


The Result

Seamless omnichannel experiences and an innovative online booking portal

Using Magnolia CMS, Viking was able to launch content-rich websites and an online booking portal in just six weeks. Additionally, the company's content creation process has been reduced from weeks to minutes.

Magnolia’s enterprise-grade workflow management features increased Viking’s operational efficiency, centralized content editing and review, and eliminated the use of disparate tools such as spreadsheets, emails, Slack channels and so forth.

Now Viking has content for its ships, itineraries and activities available for use across its websites - the Viking River Cruises website alone utilizes over 600,000 assets. Most of all, the online booking portal brings Viking seamless digital experiences that's paid for itself in a matter of weeks.

Why Viking Cruises Chose Magnolia


Marketer-friendly Workflows: Streamlined approval and publishing processes make managing assets across different systems, teams, and geographical regions much easier

Asset Scalability: Viking’s vast and growing volume of digital assets can be managed from one centralized location

Hybrid headless: Magnolia’s flexible, API-first solution supports omnichannel experiences on web, mobile, print and more

Speed of deployment: With the flexibility of Magnolia, Viking had production instances deployed in just six weeks

External DAM Support: Viking needed easy integration with an external DAM system backed by an S3 bucket

Flexible content modelling: Content models could be iteratively changed to fit complex content and asset types


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