Luxury Hospitality Academy offers unique courses for crew
The yachting industry is one of the fastest growing industries of the world. As we speak there are about 5.800 private yachts and this number will grow up to 6.100 by the year 2020. This means the demand for qualified onboard staff will increase too.
Until recently, experience and education weren't the most important skills recruiters where looking for, but that is changing rapidly. Owners of superyachts are expecting more and more high end service for themselves, their family and their guests. Interior Managers and Chief Steward/esses play a vital and fundamental role as front line to owners and guests. They need to ensure that top grade service and hospitality are enjoyed on board.
To bring the service quality to the next level, Luxury Hospitality Academy (LHA) offers training courses to yacht crew. These courses present the tools and guidance that the shipboard management needs to successfully manage themselves, their teams and the relations with other departments. One of the courses that LHA offers is the Leadership & Management training.
Leadership & Management Training
One of the Leadership & Management trainings took place last March. The event happened for the first time at the magnificent new training location that Luxury Hospitality Academy was able to secure for all its future courses: The Waterland Estate in Velsen, Netherlands.
Waterland Estate breathes service and hospitality, it’s got status and charisma. The Estate lends itself perfectly to teach and train all aspects of the yachting industry, from housekeeping to beveage management, from presenting the perfect dining table to event management.
The founders of LHA, Peter Vogel and Henk Akse, are incredibly proud of their new training
location. “A magnificent location such as this has an inspiring effect. Not only for the participants but also for the trainers”, says Henk Akse, Chairman of the board.
Peter Vogel, CEO and Principal Trainer confirms. “When the participants arrive here for training, you can sense the energy bubbles up. They want to get started immediately, but at the same time the course also is a welcome break from a busy lifestyle. Because the Estate also provides high end accommodation, it feels like an opulent home. This contributes positively to the learning process. We have experienced this during our first course at the Estate.”
The course takes five days. The first day is all about understanding yourself. The training provides a reflection for each participant and confronts each of the students with their
talents and their flaws. “After we figure that out, we can focus on the remainder of the
participants team”, Peter Vogel explains.
The next days the training focuses on being able to create the dream team onboard the vessel. To be able to do that, it is important that the managers can see the character traits and see which characteristics are needed in the team. The focus will be on teambuilding and communication. “After having learned different types of leadership and how they have an effect on individuals and teams, our participants should be able to create their dream team. We create lots of lightbulb moments for everyone”, Peter laughs.
He adds: “To provide effective leadership as a manager you should be able to create enthusiasm with your staff. We provide our participants with the tools to do just that.”
Participant Emanuella (36), Head-Housekeeping, confirms that’s exactly what the course does. “They give you realistic tools to work with. As a manager, it’s expected that you can create a good working team. At the Leadership & Management course they teach you to look at someone’s profile, what are their talents (strengths) and what are their flaws (challenges) and how can I fit that into my new team.
Organizing an event
After learning about yourself as a leader and being able to create the perfect team, it is time for some action. In the industry, its always necessary to renew and refresh, at all levels, to keep the owner satisfied and challenged.
So as a manager onboard a yacht a creative mind is a very important possession. To bring your creativity to a higher level and to obtain the maximum results LHA is in partnership with Asaro Event Management, Spirit of Discovery.
Asaro is specialized in creating new and truly unique events. They create theme-games and
interactive theatre on location. The preparation for their customized events can take several months. Asaro hires actors, designs costumes and creates a storyline that last for the entire time a yacht is spending time at a specific location.
During the fourth day of the Leadership & Management training, in this occasion, the course
participants are being asked to create a one day event, with Waterland Estate as a fictive location. For the storyline, the Estate is located adjacent to a gorgeous marina. George and Kirsty, the founders of Asaro, are invited by LHA to guide the two teams. Help them find their creativity and encourage their out-of-the-box thinking.
The students spend the entire day organizing the best, most original and surprising event they can think of. They go through the processes, discover where their creative powers are and take
leadership when their teams are in need of it. At the end of the day both teams are presenting their event to their peers, George and Kirsty and the trainers of LHA.
“This assignment digs into the creativity that resides inside you. It also teaches you how the process of creating and organizing an event like this works. It helps you understand all third parties involved”, says student Yavor, an owner’s representative.
Sladana Semunosvic: “I never knew where to begin when asked to organize an event of this
magnitude. Today they gave me the tools so I do know where to begin. It boosted my
Peter Vogel: “We added this element to the course curriculum to teach the participants a
systematic approach to event production and -management.”
Overall the participants of the Leadership & Management training at Waterland Estate are very
enthusiastic. Chloë (30), Chief Stewardess, invests on her own accord in the Leadership &
Management Training of LHA. “I want to bring my service-abilities to a higher level so I can work on bigger yachts. The good part about this training is you’ll be spending time with people with the same job descriptions and similar career goals. You get a lot of feedback, so you’ll learn a lot from the trainers and your peers. This is boosting your self-confidence. Onboard a ship, a management-job is kind of lonely.’
She continues: “I’m very happy finally there are some high-quality trainings for interior crew. LHA helps to make the business more and more professional. And that’s a good thing!”
Caroline (50), Chief Stewardess, stopped working in the industry about nine years ago to try and build a stable land life. “But the sea kept calling. Onboard life is addictive. But a lot has changed over the past few years. To bring myself up to speed, I thought it would be smart to take the course with Peter Vogel, the most reputable name in the industry. Despite of all my experience, a new world has opened up in my life because of this course. I work on a small yacht, that means I have to know everything that’s going on. At this training, you’ll learn about all the departments. That’s exactly what I needed.”
The course material also appears to work very well when put to the test in real life scenario’s. A Chief Stewardess of a 100m+ yacht and an Interior Manager who took the course in 2015 are very happy they participated.
Taking part gave the self-confidence of chief stewardess Danella, SY Black Pearl, a boost. “It’s
always good to develop yourself and further your skills. And while there are several courses we can do for wine, cocktails, service and flowers for example, there really hasn't been the support to develop good leaders. Managing a team in this environment, and all coming from different cultures and backgrounds, can be extremely challenging at times.”
She continues: “One aspect that’s very important during the training is learning how to interpret the different characters in your team and how to make this work for you. Finding the balance between all these different personalities, individual strengths, and cultures allows you to create the perfect team for your owner.”
The Chief Stewardess says she is very happy about the possibility for crew to get this type of training and encourages it. “For the rest of the crew to understand how this particular program works is extremely beneficial. They can start to make sense of why you may choose to do things a certain way and gain a new respect for other decisions they normally wouldn't understand.”
“Progression is key, and this is where you can start to lose crew if they feel as though they aren’t learning or developing the right skills to help them progress in their career. Everybody wins: you as a participant (develop yourself), your team (better teamwork), your superiors (less work-related problems) and the owner, who can have the perfect working team running his yacht.”
Interior manager Stig Spiessens (28), SY A, participated in 2015. “After this course you’ll be able to select the right crew to complement your team. If you have three creative people already, you must look for someone who can execute their ideas.”
“I think it’s a really big step forward that Luxury Hospitality Academy is creating more and more trainings for crew. It’s a young industry which is developing really fast. To keep up and being able to provide enough well trained crew, we are going to need these courses!”, Stig adds.