5 Digital Platform Rock Stars to Learn From at DrupalCon

Here are five change-makers in their respective organizations that are using Drupal to elevate the digital customer experience in meaningful ways.

This week at DrupalCon Baltimore, I had the pleasure to host a panel of “Digital Platform Rock Stars.” What makes them rock stars? They all share a common trait: They are the change-makers in their respective organizations that are elevating the digital customer experience in meaningful ways.

In case you missed how our panelists put Drupal to work for their customers’ experiences, here are some highlights.

Visit Baltimore

Brendan Janishefski, Web Marketing Director


Visit Baltimore teamed up with Miles Partnership, which showed the tourism center what’s possible with Drupal. As the official travel site for the city of Baltimore, Visit Baltimore seeks to boost the city’s tourism economy.

Miles created the template that enables the Visit Baltimore team to build upon its award-winning site. Drupal also helped solve many of the security issues and concerns. While evolving over the past three years,’s has won four major industry awards including the IAC Award for Outstanding Website.

Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC

Lisa Bernhard, Director of Administration

Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, a firm specializing in emergency medical service law and compliance, was struggling with an aging, proprietary .NET site and looking to improve processes, reporting and tracking, as well as control costs. The firm hosts conferences regularly and needed a conference registration system that their existing site couldn’t accommodate.

With the help of Dropforge Labs, in just six weeks the team at Page, Wolfberg & Wirth built an ecommerce registration site that handled credit cards for the conference.

This work led to building three more sites to address additional business goals. With Drupal’s rich API-first environment, they had the control to eliminate the complexity they were having with a third-party data site. Drupal’s authoring experience greatly improved their workflow. New access to data brought better decision making and insights.

While users certainly appreciated the fresh redesign of the sites, it was Lisa’s internal stakeholders who really valued the work Lisa led and Drupal allowed.

Princess Cruises

Subramanian “Subbu” Hariharan, Project Lead and Architect

Princess Cruises started in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico and has grown to 18 ships carrying 1.7 million guests around the globe.

With limited internet access in the open ocean, Princess Cruises wanted to give guests an ‘at sea’ mobile experience to send messages, book activities and excursions, make table reservations, order room service, and more. Princess Cruises leverages local production environments on the ships that connect to central hubs when docked at ports. Drupal was the logical CMS system of choice because it provides “speed to market” in three areas.

  1. Content and supporting translation into nine languages that gives guests the information they need in their native language with translation help from Lingotek

  2. Guest communication that allows guests to chat with their family and friends (Drupal has modules to provide this).
  3. Commerce to allow guests to book onshore excursions online.

These three requirements were delivered in less than two months. Using the same Drupal environment on the ships, Princess Cruises built operations applications to help the crew support the guests such as a breakfast ordering system. Before Drupal, guests would fill out a paper form the night before for what they wanted for breakfast and leave it outside of their door. For 90 minutes, “runners” at 4am would collect more than 400 of these forms that would then be sorted so breakfasts could be cooked to order With the new system, guests simply order on their mobile devices, making it easier for them and for staff.

The original goal was to get 10 percent of guests to use [email protected], and today they have 71 percent of guests utilizing it from across the fleet. And this is just the start; Princess Cruises plans to launch ground-breaking uses of technology with IoT, personalization, and machine learning to give guests an even better vacation experience.

Flight Centre Travel Group

Kiel Frost, Digital Platform Lead

flight center

Flight Centre Travel Group is an $18 billion travel business based in Australia consisting of more than 40 brands such as US-business Liberty Travel. It is one of the world’s largest travel agency groups with company-owned operations in 14 countries and a corporate travel management network that spans more than 90 countries. It employs more than 19,000 people globally and has a total of 2,800 businesses.

Five years ago, before the move to Drupal, Flight Centre Travel Group was dealing with a digital environment built on a legacy CMS system. Everything was a challenge back then; getting new sites up, ensuring consistency across multiple brands, and getting campaigns up and running was impossible to scale. Flight Centre needed a solution that would allow the marketing team to update pages, spin up new sites, and run campaigns quickly and effortlessly. Drupal was the choice solution.

Today Flight Centre manages 90 sites on Drupal; the platform now allows new sites to be launched in less than a day rather than a month. The site development effort shifted from developers to marketing teams who can spin up a new site quickly and easily on their own.


David Valade, Senior Director of Product Management

One of Comcast’s strategic initiatives focuses on healthcare, and specifically new ways to help hospitals and insurers provide ‘continuous care’ from hospital to home. Comcast started with an idea: deliver high quality education videos and interactions into the home to support pre- and postoperative conditions to help hospitals, insurers and ultimately the patients.

Their requirement was to create sites in support of a multitude of insurance brands and subbrands, manage content centrally, and then publish out to different end points. They delivered this experience over smart TVs, personal mobile phones, tablets as well as a responsive website.

Their ultimate solution was built on Drupal leveraging Acquia Cloud Site Factory and the content syndication capabilities of Acquia Lift. This allowed them to stand up a whole new instance of a site in a day or two, and connect it to the central content. The decision came down to Drupal’s framework, which allowed for rapid development. Drupal let Comcast build a “self-service scenario” for multiple underlying sites compared to having to build any of the provisioning capability from the ground up. Flexibility was a key requirement.

The diversity these five businesses’ industries, goals, and target markets demonstrates the power and flexibility that Drupal has to support them all.

Watch the full panel discussion here:

Watch DrupalCon Baltimore 2017: So you want to be a "Digital Platform" Rock Star?! on YouTube.

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