Delegation is the key to life. Well, maybe not all of life (especially since traveling light is also a key to life and not to mention “Happy Wife Happy Life”) but at least it is a key to keeping a blog going. I enjoyed delegating this space to Lisa during the crossing of Oasis of the Seas so much that I have been missing her entries ever since. Obviously the attention to Haiti in the last month has made everything else a moot point but now I would like to move forward with “Fridays with Lisa.” I don’t want to give her a heart attack so I’m not insisting on every Friday. But hopefully most Fridays she will chip in with her observations about some aspect of the wide and wonderful world of Hotel Operations at Royal Caribbean International.
Today, Lisa will be talking about her AIE visit. During the course of the year our top operations executives visit every ship in the fleet, as Lisa describes below. Although I do not do these visits myself anymore, I regard the 10 + years of Anchored in Excellence (AIE) program and my own 117 AIE ship visits as true highlights. I congratulate Lisa Bauer and Bill Wright for continuing to enhance AIE.
AIE 2010 Kick-off
A few weeks ago I spent a week in Brazil where we officially kicked off the Anchored in Excellence (AIE) visits for the year. We were able to spend time sailing with both Vision of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas, and as a bonus, we were also able to visit our office in Brazil.
AIE is a program where we visit each ship in the fleet, and meet with the shipboard Executive Committee, attend both hotel and marine departmental meetings, host an all crew session, as well as invite any crew member to come see us for any 1:1 topics they would like to discuss. When sailing with the ship, we also have the ability to see how guests are enjoying the ship, as well as how our crew is interacting with our guests. A personal highlight for me from this trip was a dinner hosted by Captain Tommy on the Splendour of the Seas where they served all local Brazilian dishes.
What we experienced on both of these ships was fantastic. The camaraderie between the hotel and marine teams is excellent, and the teamwork is great to see. Both ships are sailing with over 98% Brazilians, and while the ships have the core Royal Caribbean product offering, they have been able to add local elements of customization to really bring in the Brazilian culture. This includes everything from a “Carnival” production show with lots of feathers, to BBQ’s on the pool deck, to many Portuguese speaking crew. The Brazilian crew members are also very engaging and really deliver the Wow.
You can’t just take my word for the fact that the ships are doing great. We measure all the ships in the fleet against each other and their targets with ratings on a balanced scorecard. Splendour of the Seas finished 2009 as the number one ship in the fleet, and this includes everything from guest satisfaction, to Ship Overall Appearance, meeting their budgets and revenue targets, employee satisfaction and workplace safety. I’m personally thrilled to see a ship from the late 90’s leading the way! It really does reinforce the importance of leadership, focus on the guest, and getting the product right for the market. Our Brazilian office has really been instrumental in helping us adapt to the local market.