Guest Post: Behind the Creation of My Time Dining

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Adam: As much as I enjoy creating my own blog entries, once a week I intend to give over to one of the other leaders of our brand to speak in more detail about their respective areas. Of course, many of our readers’ interests are in the direction of what happens on the ships, so it is logical to give the first opportunity to Lisa Bauer, Senior VP, Hotel Operations. Thank you, Lisa!

Lisa Bauer

Lisa Bauer

Hi this is Lisa. My team oversees all of our entertainment; onboard shopping; casino; housekeeping; guest services and facilities; and food and beverage operations. I could write for days on each of these areas, but one of the key areas our guests really love is our food and dining service. In fact, the relationship that our guests develop with our wait staff in the dining room is one of the things that they tell us is a key highlight of their cruise. So I thought I would share some of the reasons we why have been so focused on how we could transform the main dining room experience.

We started to see a trend where our guests between the ages of 30 to 45 no longer wanted to dine in the main dining room, and were instead going to Windjammer or the specialty dining restaurants so that they could choose what time and with whom they ate. Also, being a family brand, we had a number of families with younger children that didn’t want to come to the dining room because of the time it took to enjoy that experience and the feeling that their children might negatively impact others. While one solution could have been to introduce open seating in the dining room, we also know that a very large proportion of our guests still enjoy the traditional first and second seating dining experience. So our challenge was to create a program that delivered the best of both worlds – the inspiration for the My Time Dining program. We also knew that we had the opportunity to offer a unique service for families, which was the driver of My Family Time Dining.

Before we roll out any new program for the brand, we always pilot many variations. One of the many benefits of having a fleet of 20 ships, is the ability to test different concepts and gather valuable guest feedback on what worked and what didn’t. So we tested My Time Dining and the final program that was launched fleet-wide was the result of guest and crew feedback from several ships.

MTD, as we refer to it, allows our guests to sign up in advance, or on the first day of their cruise. Guests can choose what time they want to eat, or show up anytime within a window of time every night. The program offers guests the flexibility to dine with service from the same waiter each evening, as well as the ability to be seated with their party, at a table with others or on their own. My Time Dining requires our guests to prepay gratuities.

My Family Time Dining allows our guests to bring their families to the main dining room where the children are immediately served with special dinnerware. At 6:45, our Adventure Ocean staff comes to the main dining room to pick up the children and take them to Adventure Ocean, leaving the parents to enjoy the rest of their dinner. This idea actually came from one of our travel agency advisory board members, Audrey Henley of American Express Travel. We get inspiration from our guests, our travel partners, our employees and crew, and this idea has instantly become very popular.

We also knew that we needed to make it easy for our guests to choose this program, so we made a considerable investment in upgrading our reservations and web systems so our guests could choose first or second seating, or My Time Dining. It also made it very easy for our travel agency partners to book dining as well and this went live on May 17th.

I wanted to end off by inviting you to hear all about the wonderful culinary offerings we have planned on Oasis of the Seas by joining our live chat at 2PM ET on June 24. Visit www.OasisoftheSeas.com for more details. If Adam invites me to be a guest on his blog again, perhaps my next topic will be how to win in the casino. ;)