Universally recognised as the hospitality industry’s leading authority on five-star guest experience, Forbes Travel Guide is bringing its unparalleled reputation in luxury hospitality to an exciting new partnership with IGY’s Trident Collective.
Established in 1958 as Mobil Travel Guide to encourage US motorists to explore, it created the original five-star rating for hotels in the US and is today the only independent global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas.
Mobil Travel Guide became Forbes Travel Guide in 2007 and now provides world-class professional services to hospitality and other organizations that value exceptional service, including retail, residential, healthcare and private club sectors.
A world leader in service standards
“Forbes Travel Guide is known for its prestigious annual Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended ratings in 74 countries and counting,” explains CFO Tony Hounshell. “We are also known for our world-class professional training and standards development services that make our deep experience in the world of luxury hospitality available to any organization that serves discerning clients and guests.”
Learning and development for the superyacht industry
It is the training and development of hospitality professionals that FTG will be bringing to the superyacht industry via IGY’s Trident program. Engaging directly with the crew of IGY Trident members, FTG will deliver proprietary superyacht crew service training and a professional development curriculum based on their years of unrivalled experience.
“We’ve had various interactions with IGY in the past and a need was identified to bring something that was perceived to be lacking within the yachting and marina industry, which is truly excellent service that even approaches the service levels that guests receive in the five-star hotels that we work with,” adds Tony.
“This training and development program is initially focused on yacht crew members, and we will be providing the crew of IGY Trident members with a full day of training. We’ve done showcases for IGY before and they see it as a fantastic opportunity for their Trident members to elevate service levels on board their yachts.”
How it works
The training will cover a number of different topics with two yacht crew from around 20 members attending at any one time to create engaging and dynamic sessions.
These include Foundations of Five Star Service, which covers proactive warm acknowledgements, professional and consistent verbiage, graciousness, upbeat and unrushed tone of voice, showing a genuine interest, providing thoughtful, intuitive services, politely closing interactions, timeliness and looking sharp.
Other areas include Owning Your Five Star Space and Setting Up Your Yacht for Success and Tony adds: “This is a benefit to any Trident member and it’s just a starting point. There’s a need to bring this industry along in the service continuum to strive towards service excellence and bring the influence we have on land to the sea.”
It’s a first foray into superyachting for FTG, and Tony believes that it’s time for a HNW industry which has been somewhat left behind to look beyond the beauty of the vessel and deliver a level of luxury service that matches or surpasses that image.
“The superyacht industry is about as exclusive as it can get, yet so much focus goes into the beauty of the vessel and operating and maintaining that vessel. It’s easy to forget some of the things that make the experience even more special.
“This is what we’ve heard continuously from the industry – that crews don’t provide the level of guest experience that they get from their favourite land-based hotel. So how do we elevate the level of service to approach that? This is why IGY invited us to become partners in the Trident program.”
The benefits for owners, guests and crew
Crew training and development is not only good for the guest and owner experience but also highly beneficial for the crew. “We look to motivate and inspire crew when we engage in training,” adds Tony. “What makes it special is the energy generated and the level of engagement. It’s amazing to see and it sets a foundation which is practised and maintained. Training is not something you did, it’s something you do.”
Wholly focused on the guest experience, he says, “There are so many different techniques we coach, involving practise and being thoughtful. It’s not simply about buying or presenting the best bottle of wine. If the crew don’t understand how to drive the best guest experience, it’s forever lost. You can’t buy that.”
A French experience
FTG has just opened its first physical base for training, team-building and development opportunities – a picturesque French chateau in the countryside of Cognac, in southwestern France.
Offering executive development programs focused on leadership, emotional intelligence and team dynamics, the Center for Excellence focuses on a service-driven mindset featuring FTG’s world-class training program which is already utilized in over 70 countries across the world.
“We are really excited about it; it’s the first physical presence that we will have as a place for us to demonstrate what we advise clients every day,” explains Tony. “It will host different groups for learning and development activities and can also be used by groups for team-building agendas.”
Building a new business model
Tony hopes that this best in class partnership with IGY’s Trident program is just the beginning of FTG’s transition into superyachting. “We’re the ultimate influence in luxury hospitality. We set the standard, and we are looking to grow that influence in this new area.
“There’s so much excitement among the IGY team in terms of the timeliness of bringing this to the superyacht industry. When you look at IGY’s footprint and the clientele they host around the world every day, they are the perfect partner for us. IGY Trident aims to simplify and enhance the superyacht experience and it’s the ideal entry point for FTG. Ultimately, we hope to give the industry something it didn’t even know it needs.”