Luxury Hospitality Goes Virtual
One of the key learning curves in recent times across all industries has been mastering the ability to adjust at lightning speed to the new normal.
With the Covid-19 pandemic demanding vital yet limiting social distancing requirements, the traditional method of running training courses has been rapidly superseded by online offerings which aim to provide an equally rounded education from the comfort of your home or berth.
Luxury Hospitality Management was quick to adapt, having already considered online alternatives as a valuable addition to their stable of physical courses. Indeed, tailoring their courses accordingly has proved a savvy and forward-thinking move in these increasingly unusual times.
‘We have been preparing for life after Coronavirus and the business has gone to incredible levels during this time,’ says LH Managing Director Peter Vogel.
Here are just a few of the online courses now available through LH.
Leadership Delivery On Demand
While leadership courses are still in their infancy, more and more yacht crew are starting to see the value in developing their individual leadership skills at all levels from captains to interior.
LH’s head of leadership and coaching Martin Mainey presides over a varied programme of courses from Personal Leadership, Emerging Leader and Team Leader through to Senior Leader and Organisational Leadership.
‘Working in the yachting industry can be a dream job but it can also be a nightmare and what makes the difference is the leadership on the yacht you are working on,’ says Martin, who spent the majority of his career in education. ‘When it’s good, people feel happy and valued, progressing and developing as an individual as well as in their ability.
‘However, when leadership isn’t right, there is disharmony on board with crew falling out and people become disinterested because they don’t feel valued. Crew retention becomes a massive issue and often there’s a high turnover. The old style command and rule leadership doesn’t work well when people are living together 24/7.’
Delivered through the principles of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, these holistic programmes, which shifted online with great ease, aim to get students working to become the best versions of themselves, adopting responsibility and accountability.
'We focus leadership students inwardly on themselves first of all to see where their strengths and areas for development lie; we guide them to develop as self-leading individuals who don’t need to be led and managed constantly,’ explains Martin.
‘We offer a range of programmes from personal leadership through to first level leaders for small teams to middle leaders and high level leaders who are managing 200-300 people, developing vision, culture and the ability to execute your strategies and achieve your goals.’
As the pandemic took hold, demand for online courses increased as the platform is a flexible solution for crew who either have limited time to learn when guests are on board, or lots of downtime when the yacht is in port.
‘The younger age group typically on board is more in tune with studying online as opposed to face to face. Students find the online materials engaging and informative and they like the built-in assessments to check they are picking up information.
‘They are guided to discuss things with an accountability partner to really bring the learning to life. We train captains through to every level of crew member and they emerge with a greater capacity to be in control of their lives.’
This bespoke programme is spread over two four-hour sessions, allowing you to connect with likeminded yacht crew and hone your professional development, taking your people skills and inner confidence to new levels.
‘Insight is the foundational segment which forms part of the LH 360 philosophy, creating Positive Workforce Culture practices,’ says head trainer Julia Rogers. ‘Insight opens the lid, gives the lightbulb experience, creates great self-awareness and shows students how to use this awareness to be the best they can be, growing confidence, improving communication and self-management skills.’
The first module concentrates on LH Dynamics and Emotional Intelligence, creating a baseline for identifying and building on strengths as well as supporting weak spots.
‘The first four hours will focus on truly understanding self and how to communicate more effectively with others,’ explains Julia. ‘How to stay authentic, remove masks and regulate emotions and feelings in order to react in a positive manner and be more pro-active.
‘LH Dynamics identifies one's natural strengths - not our life skills or those that are taught to us but the ones that make us feel alive! On the flip side, when we know what challenges us and what drains our energy, we can learn what to say no to.
‘We know where our value lies and that other team members can support our challenges. This way everyone is playing to their strengths.’
Day two – Brain Chemicals and Psychological Safety – is geared towards achieving effective self-management.
Fellow Insight trainer Lynne Edwards adds: ‘We use our LH Dynamics skills and strengths profiling system to delve into how individuals Function, Feel, Communicate and Operate in accordance with their inherent strengths - and challenges - and teach how to most effectively communicate with different archetypes in a team dynamic.
‘Every part of the Insight training is aimed at creating a positive workplace culture for those employed in the superyacht industry - either on board yachts or in shore-based positions - by helping our students gain clarity around their values, their mission in life and where they feel they best contribute.’
Psychological training and safety is critical to success, according to Lynne. ‘People cannot function optimally under duress and so understanding and managing one's thought processes is an essential skill to hone.
‘Our thoughts create our emotions which elicit feelings, which ultimately drive our behaviour, so creating a psychologically safe environment for oneself begins with the management and processing of thought. Once we understand that we can manage our thought processes, we empower ourselves to manage our behaviours and shift our focus to the things we can change or influence.
‘When people are happy in their work, their productivity and engagement levels rise significantly; longevity increases and with that comes all sorts of other benefits in relation to a healthier working environment.’
The move from physical to online was a natural progression at LH following the first lockdown. ‘In these challenging times, online courses are hugely beneficial and will remain in place even when we are able to train in person again,’ says Julia. ‘With mediums such as Zoom, the material is easily transferable and, as with any course, if you have students ready to learn and absorb the knowledge, they will!
‘There are lots of tools available, break out rooms and ways to keep things alive online. We keep the student groups small with a maximum of 10, which means we can create good group discussions and exercises and the learning stays interactive, alive and fun.’
The Art of Bartending
This unique online training seminar provides 12 hours of training divided into four modules: Bartending Basics, Bartending Essentials, Bartending Mixology and Bartending Advanced.
Overseen by Rob Rademaker, an award-winning mixologist who ran his own lounge bar in Crete and has since trained thousands of bartenders around the globe, the course outlines the history of bartending as well as the essential techniques and tricks to assembling the perfect classic or cocktail du jour.
‘My role entails motivating, stimulating and educating crew members about the wonderful craft of bartending,’ says Rob. ‘It is also key to bring out the best in every individual crew member and expand the teamwork state of mind. Our mission statement is to create memorable guest experiences and have fun while doing so.’
With the current trend of customizing drinks specific to guests’ needs, students need to be eager to take the guest experience to the next level. ‘You can do that by paying attention to detail, staging the drink and making the service seem effortless,’ adds Rob. ‘Service, knowledge, confidence and skills are key elements.’
This interactive course includes video material and one-on-one specialist training covering everything from how to build and shake a cocktail to mastering your body language and creating your own signature drink.
‘The art of mixology relies on taste, sensation, aroma, technique, ingredients and creativity,’ he explains. ‘Back in the early 1800's, classic cocktails were created with what was locally available. These recipes are the backbone of modern bartending and are very hard to get properly balanced. If you want to have a solid bartending foundation, know your classics.
‘Nowadays, there is a much larger variety of products, tools and new techniques to create remarkable contemporary cocktails, taking classic cocktails to a higher level.’
With yacht clienteles from every creed, country and culture, it’s vital to offer a customized approach and the course appeals to crew members new and experienced.
Moving the course online was not without its challenges but Rob feels it does justice to the fundamental art of mixology. ‘These challenging times actually gave us the opportunity to create our unique online bar training modules. Of course, we prefer to train in person but by using this interactive way of online training we are still able to unlock you and your team’s full potential.
‘You’re able to train yourself and your team during a regular shift as you can choose when to fit in a one hour or three hour training session. Besides that, it is a fun and efficient way to create team spirit and improve beverage service skills.’
To judge the practical tasting tasks, Rob has created a ‘buddy’ system, where one crew member creates the cocktail and the other crew member takes on the judging role. ‘Before the training starts, LH will provide a bar manual that includes tasting note scoring cards. Our trainer will explain how to taste, what to look for and how to use these scoring cards. What better way is there to get more involvement of all crew members?
For further information, check out their full range of online courses here.
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