Carnival Corp.'s John Padgett to Open HT-NEXT 2021 on Dec. 14

In this highly anticipated keynote, Padgett will discuss the rise of experiential IoT, its role in the Metaverse, and what it means for the hospitality industry.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels
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Almost five years ago at CES 2017, Carnival Corporation unveiled the OceanMedallion wearable device as the linchpin of its guest experience transformation. The same technology that was used to simplify and personalize the guest experience on MedallionClass ships from Princess Cruises has served as the centerpiece for the brand’s return to service after a 16-month pause in operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this compelling keynote, attendees will hear from John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises and Chief Experience and Innovation Officer at Carnival Corp. Padgett will discuss how his team accelerated the MedallionClass roll out in the face of a global pandemic; why “contactless” and “touchless” innovations originally designed to make life on board more enjoyable, have taken on greater significance; and how the smartest ships at sea offer an intriguing glimpse into the Metaverse.

This is a session that you don’t want to miss! HT-NEXT will be held live Dec. 13-16 in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the Fairmont Princess. To register and attend the event, visit:


John Padgett is the President of Princess Cruises and Chief Experience & Innovation Officer for Carnival Corporation.

John Padgett wearing a suit and tie

Appointed in October 2021 as President of one of Carnival Corporation’s most iconic cruise line brands, Padgett oversees all performance and operational functions of Princess Cruises and its global fleet of 14 ships sailing cruise guests to nearly 400 destinations around the world annually. He reports directly to Jan Swartz, group president of Holland America Group.

Since July 2014, Padgett has served as chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, responsible for guest experience innovation, development, creation and operations integration and continues to lead the corporation’s innovation unit.

Specifically for the Princess Cruises brand, Padgett has been a key player in the development and implementation of the Princess MedallionClass® experience delivering a more personalized, simplified and connected onboard experience for all guests and crew that is now available on the entire Princess fleet. This includes the creation and development of the award-winning Medallion® wearable device and the enabling OCEAN® platform that enhances and personalizes the overall cruise experience ranging from world-class dining and beverages, entertainment and spas to on-shore excursions, merchandise and hotel guest services. 

[Check out HT's in-depth coverage of this topic earlier in the year here: Carnival's OceanMedallion Tech: The Wave of the Future]

Prior to becoming chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, Padgett worked for 18 years with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts where he spearheaded the invention, development and implementation of guest engagement innovations that include the MagicBand, FastPass+ and Disney’s Magical Express, among others.

Padgett earned a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech and holds dozens of patents and multiple innovation awards.


Hospitality Technology (HT) and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are collaborating for the fifth year in a row to host HT-NEXT 2021, a unique conference for the hospitality technology industry. HT-NEXT 2021 will take place Dec. 13-16 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Az.

HT-NEXT ( brings together hotel technology solution providers with leaders and influencers from leading hotel companies spanning IT, finance, marketing, distribution and operations. The event typically attracts nearly 500 hospitality professionals. After the event, 87% of attendees say they meet a valuable new contact at the show, and 97% of attendees say they brought back a specific idea to implement at their organization.

HT-NEXT features emerging trends and the ability to dig in to work together to solve current industry problems. The program will feature thought-provoking keynotes, diverse educational sessions, HTNG workgroups and a technology exhibit hall for attendees to discover cutting-edge solutions. The Hotel Visionary Awards and the HTNG TechOvation Award are also presented live during the event.