This article about how your Frontlines can give you a competitive advantage appeared in Travel & Cruise, the official magazine of the cruise industry, published by the FCCA and CLIA.

What can Frontline Training do for Your Destination?

Is your destination looking for a sustained competitive advantage? Is the creation of a culture of service important to your region? That is where the FCCA Frontline Destination Training can help you. Focusing on Service Excellence in a destination is definitely a key to guest satisfaction and return visits, whether a cruise or land-based guest.  

 What Aquila has found in delivering four of these sessions last fall, is that it has benefitted the destinations in more ways than was originally expected. Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool, President of the Office of Tourism of St. Martin says: “We could not envision just how comprehensive the training was or the reception and the enthusiasm that the course would solicit from the participants. The two-day seminar was packed with a wealth of information on the challenges and opportunities that could help us improve… It also focused on achieving certain standards of excellence, skills for dealing with specific sectors… more than anything, it drew our attention to the fact that cruise tourism is an industry that at its core is about human relations and how well we conduct our customer service.”

 For all of us in cruise destinations around the world, our Frontlines are the ones interacting with our cruise guests and creating the customer experience. They are the ambassadors for our region. Having them engaged and understanding why the cruise sector is crucial not just to the destination, but to them personally, will definitely make a difference. When you have a culture of service excellence, it is obvious that what drives your organization is delivering consistent, exceptional service and creating “wow” experiences for your clients. A true service culture is comprised of leaders who embrace an attitude of service excellence and build lasting relationships with their clients – both the cruise lines and their guests – as well as everyone on the front line. It is essential that everyone who has contact with the guest have an attitude of providing excellent service by proactively anticipating customers’ needs and expectations and exceeding them… every time!

 Some examples of how you would know if your destination or organization operates from a service perspective and has a true culture of service would be if everyone who comes in contact with a guest:

  • Understands that every interaction with a cruise guest is an opportunity to provide a memorable customer service experience.
  • Strives to give the best possible experience to their guest, every time.
  • Looks for ways to exceed their customers’ expectations and give them “wow” experiences. 
  • Sees their customers as individuals, and shows them great respect, treating them as if they were guests in their own home.
  • Understands that when things happen, while it may not be their fault, it is their problem. And they do whatever they can to fix it. Often, guests just want an apology and assurance that someone cares.
  • Understands that their actions are integral to the destination’s or company’s success, and they know all their extra efforts are appreciated, particularly because the leaders tell them so regularly.
  • Is empowered to make decisions so that excellent service can be delivered. They have the skills to really listen to the customer, and they are empowered to solve problems and turn negatives into positives.
  • Is constantly on the lookout for how to make things better, how to improve service, and how to provide even more “wow” experiences to their guests.

The FCCA Customer Service and Frontline Destination Training goes through exercises with the participants on how to create a culture of service excellence. “The Aquila customer service training program was exactly what was necessary… All the participants were happy to learn from a business veteran and Bonaire will for sure make use of Aquila training services to continue to improve our service,” says Maurice Adriaens, Director, Tourism Corporation Bonaire. This program is available to all FCCA members. Give your destination a competitive advantage and create a culture of service excellence – it works!

 Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence is the FCCA’s official training partner. 

Originally published on LinkedIn on September 17, 2019