(Originally published on Marketplace Excellence – Caribbean Report Newsletter, edited)

Cruise tourism has been a major contributor to national economies around the world for decades, creating jobs and bringing visitors who spend money locally. More recent trends include a focus on promoting health and safety, concerted efforts to enhance environmental sustainability and achieve carbon neutrality, and a commitment to destination stewardship and responsible tourism.

Over the next few weeks, we will share strategies for delivering excellent service to cruise tourists (as well as stayover visitors). Beth Hatt, the author, is the founder of Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence, the leading destination training provider for the global cruise industry, for providing an “insider’s” perspective. For more than 15 years, Aquila has been elevating the visitor experience through service excellence.

Stay tuned!

2. Cruise tourism is everyone’s business

In our last installment we looked at why cruise lines pay close attention to the guest satisfaction ratings of the shore excursions they offer.

On the other side of the equation, tourism stakeholders also need to be invested in ensuring that excellent service is delivered to cruise ship passengers from start to finish of their activities and attractions. (It bears repeating, as we stated last week, that this same standard should apply to stayover visitors as well as local residents.)

It is imperative for front-line personnel, tour guides, tour operators, transportation providers, vendors, attractions operators, communities, and cruise stakeholders to see themselves as part of the whole and being part of the same team.

This means that everyone shares the common goals of:

  • offering excellent service
  • supporting one another
  • celebrating each other’s successes
  • continually looking for ways to improve guest experiences

Destinations that truly grasp the value of the sector take proactive steps to promote collaboration, increase awareness, and educate their audiences so that even people who do not interact directly with cruise ship passengers understand how important cruise tourism is to the local economy.

Communication is the key to successful collaboration. As collaborations increase, the need for better communication increases. All entities working with cruise lines need to ensure their communication plans and strategies are solid. Those plans should include all key audiences, from their cruise line clients and stakeholder partners to their frontline teams that are engaging with guests, and the community at large.

Front-line teams and tour operators receive direct feedback from cruise guests and cruise lines. By communicating what they learn, they can share new ideas, perspectives, and processes that can improve the guest experience. As a result, all stakeholders can achieve success and growth in the cruise market.

In a nutshell, strengthening and perfecting a destination’s cruise tourism product is everyone’s business!