The implementation of Fidelio Cruise’s Fleet Management System (FMS) across Holland America Line’s 13-ship cruise fleet is now almost complete. Only two vessels, Maasdam and Volendam, remain and their conversions to Fidelio’s Shipboard Property Management System (SPMS) inclusive of FMS will finish by the end of May. This will leave only Holland America Line’s newbuilding Eurodam, due to be delivered from Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in June, which will have FMS in operation from day one in addition to the complete complement of solutions provided by Fidelio’s SPMS and MICROS® 9700 Point of Sale.
“We are very pleased with the FMS installation across our fleet,” says Ron Sorozan, Holland America Line’s Vice President, Information Technology. “We took the decision to install Fidelio Cruise’s FMS on board our ships following a review of IT in which we concluded that the latest systems offer significant opportunities to raise service levels and improve operating efficiency aboard ship, while also providing better information for cruise managers ashore. This already proves to be the case,” Sorozan adds, “and we now look forward to project completion over the next two months.”
Fidelio Cruise’s Head of Development for Fleet Management Systems (FMS), Ratan Singh Rathore, has overseen the entire installation which has involved both shipboard sites and new systems at the Seattle-based cruise line’s head office. “We have worked very closely with Holland America Line personnel,” Ratan explains, “and this partnership has resulted in an extremely successful project. Holland America Line personnel have been very receptive to the new software and clearly recognise the benefits that FMS brings to their business.”
FMS breaks new ground as the first in a new generation of cruise fleet software systems. It monitors all financial transactions, passenger and crew movements, hotel maintenance issues and passenger feedback across a fleet of ships and transfers all this data to shore-based managers at head office on a frequency to be determined, but typically once a day. Thus cruise operators can compare the relative performance of ships within a fleet and different cruise itineraries. They can even track trends in passenger demographics and the changing spending habits of their customers.
Explains Ratan: “Holland America Line’s personnel feel really positive about the ability to access onboard data in almost real-time. Because the ships transfer data to shore every night, they can see what actually happened on board their ships yesterday. The software provides excellent searching, grouping, filtering and analysing functionality and enables precise tracking of who spends what, where and when, what the guests and crew consume and as a result, what represents the most popular products and service offerings – spa treatments and shore excursions, for example.”
Ratan continues: “It also provides managers ashore with an insight into gangway management and security issues, hotel maintenance, response times and, importantly, passenger feedback. A prompt response to a disgruntled passenger is more important than ever,” he notes.
Holland America Line has implemented Fidelio Cruise’s Comment Card Module which ensures that shoreside representatives have access to guest feedback almost immediately. The software analyses feedback automatically, enabling cruise line personnel to respond promptly to complaints. This enables Holland America Line to initiate its own in-house Comment Card analysis and will save money on its present arrangements using outside Comment Card consultants to analyse guest feedback.
The FMS software has been designed to dovetail neatly with the cruise line’s existing management systems. Holland America Line places importance on the ability to customise the system so that it groups and classifies relevant data and directs it to the appropriate shore-based department. For example, house-keeping data have been made available only to those who need to see them; and similarly personnel with responsibilities for medical matters, accounts or onboard revenue receive just the data they need.
Holland America Line system users have identified a key benefit in the ability to standardise fleet operations across different ships. Previously, different software systems were in operation on board different vessels. Now, though, shore-based staff can clearly see how the SPMS and Micros Point-of-Sale systems are used in the same way aboard each ship. And fleet overviews, set up by Fidelio Cruise personnel at head office, can be used both for overall fleet performance analysis, but also as a basis for more detailed ship-by-ship performance comparisons.
“We are convinced that FMS heralds the dawn of a new era in cruise ship management,” says Tony Heuer, Fidelio Cruise President and founder. “Just a few years ago, it would not have been possible to collect or transmit this volume of data between ship and shore. Now the effective management of this data means that shore-based managers can analyse cruise demography and consumer trends as never before. With this information, they can determine which products and services are the most popular, and which are not. This, in turn, enables them to optimise their offerings,” he notes.