We get inspired when we interview people who are striving to improve. And that has been the case in this issue, whether for cruise line executives, port authorities or suppliers. The companies and the individuals that are most successful are those that never stop looking for a better way.
Recent accidents have also led the entire industry to rethink its technical operations, raise the bar further on safety standards, and make everybody more aware.
Since the most heavily publicized incidents involved Costa Crociere and Carnival Cruise Lines, both brands suffered the most in terms of public perception and demand.
In the aftermath, Carnival also discovered that its relationship with travel agents was suffering from other ailments as well. Hence, it was a wake up call that even when you are the biggest and most profitable, you need to continue to strive not only on the product delivery, but also in terms of travel agent and customer relationships.
Being the 800 pound gorilla in the room is not enough. Carnival got the message loud and clear, having launched an aggressive marketing campaign last year, combined with travel agent incentives, and a series of onboard product enhancements. And from what we hear, it is working.
In addition, port authorities are spirited about their role not only in handling the ships, but contributing to a positive passenger experience.
Our observations drive home the point that this is a very people-centric business – no matter the state of the technology, the ships are run and operated by people, as are ports and destinations.
And those we have talked to for this issue are passionate about their roles, hopefully inspiring their colleagues and industry stakeholders, and certainly us.
Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2014.
Angela Reale Mathisen & Oivind Mathisen