SECTOREventosInternational Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways

International Cruise Summit 2019 – Key takeaways

The International Cruise Summit in Madrid, in its ninth edition, recognizes that ‘Big Data’ and data processing are the necessary tools for the cruise industry to manage the passenger experience, tourist flows and the more fulfilling experiences at destinations The rise of new construction designs and gastronomy on board and at the destination, were also hot topics of the International Cruise Summit 2019.

Report from CruisesNews Magazine – December 2019

ICS 2019 website

International Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways


The ninth edition of the International Cruise Summit, held on November 27 and 28 in Madrid, managed to surpass the success of previous editions and confirmed the status now acquired by this congress and its discussion forums within the industry. More than 400 attendees were able to meet and learn about a constantly growing industry, with its opportunities and challenges, with more than 40 speakers, including international experts and cruise executives at the highest level.

The ICS 2019 was inaugurated by Felix de Paz, Tourism Advisor of the Spanish Embassy in Miami, Alfredo Serrano, National Director of CLIA Spain and José Ramón Castiñeira, General Director of Tourism for the Madrid Regional Government.

The sector is still booming. In 2020, 22 new ships will reach the market, which means almost 2 ships per month.

In such a global industry, knowing the potential cruise passenger better than your competitors is essential to increase quality, consumer satisfaction and enhance customer loyalty. ‘Big Data’ and the science of data processing are the essential tools for the cruise industry. Improving the efficiency of all companies and achieving the transition to decision models based on the data is unquestionable and different companies presented innovative models of customer experience management. If knowing the customer is vital, being able to predict demand becomes a differentiating element.

Big Data and sustainability transforms the cruise industry.

However, the industry reiterated that it is necessary to correctly manage tourist flows with the help of new technologies by destination and not only promote the destination as before. It also stressed its commitment to ports, public and private entities to overcome current challenges.

The event was attended by the CEO of TUI Cruises, Wybcke Meier as the guest of honour, who offered her professional career and leadership as an example in the industry. Meier is a great expert and defender of environmental transition and sustainability. She stressed that we live in an age where perception exceeds reality, so it is essential to know how to communicate efficiently.

Furthermore, the event brought to the table that it is not logistically possible that all ships are propelled by liquefied natural gas nor the shore power or vessel connection in port is sustainable in all destinations when electricity comes from non-renewable energy. This and other messages should be opportunely explained to professionals, press and consumers.

Within the section of the ICS talks, Emre Sayin, President of the largest port and port terminal manager in the world, Global Ports Holding Inc., also gave his innovative vision on the management of ports and destinations. 

This ninth edition has allowed to continue promoting Madrid as the headquarters of the main international congresses.

Master ICS 2019
Kimberley McLean, account manager at International Cruise and Ferry Review,  is the winner of this year’s Master ICS Award. This is the third year of this prestigious award. During the International Cruise Summit 2019 in Madrid delegates were quizzed on a whole series of strategic questions related to the cruise industry. Participation was not compulsory but a great many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to test their advanced  skills. The trophy was awarded to the person who answered the greatest number of questions correctly.

The award was presented by Laurence Bouchardie,  Cruise Manager at Cruise Bordeaux (Atlantic Port of Bordeaux) winner of last year’s edition.

International Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways


Presentation: Cross cultural communication in a globalised world

✔︎ Logos = Mind = Am I an Expert?
✔︎ Pathos = Body = Do I Really Care?
✔︎ Ethos = Soul = Do I have a Moral Purpose.
✔︎ Good Story telling includes all the above three.
✔︎ A Picture may tell 1000 Words, but a Great Story is worth 1000 Pictures.
✔︎ Create Your Own File of Personal Stories.

Session 1: Industry transformation
Today, the global cruise industry continues to be successful through the expansion of source markets and a highly buoyant new-building programme driving increased innovation across all sectors. However, challenges exist on the environmental and political landscape, not to mention the changes in distribution following the demise of Thomas Cook. What are the latest successes and how do we sustain smooth sailing into the future?

• Moderator: Olga Piqueras, Managing Director INTERCRUISES SHORESIDE AND PORT SERVICES
• Richard J. Vogel, CEO & President PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Massimo Brancaleoni, Senior Vice President Global Sales COSTA CRUISES
• Kevin Bubolz, Managing Director Europe NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
• Chris Hackney, Managing Director MARELLA CRUISES
• Tony Roberts, Vice President UK & Europe PRINCESS CRUISES
• Achille Staiano, Vice President Global Sales MSC CRUISES 

✔︎ The Industry Needs Advocates to tell our story on sustainability.
✔︎ There is still plenty of life in “old ships”.
✔︎ Ships can be re-engineered and refurbished. Talking of “old” and “new” is not helpful.
✔︎ People needs to understand what a refurbishment means in terms of brand aligment of new ship quality standards.
✔︎ Whilst Pullmantur is the biggest Spanish cruise brand, more and more international cruise lines are coming in and driving the Spanish source market upwards.
✔︎ All cruise lines are doing their bit in sustainability efforts.
✔︎ European passengers value cruise business modern transformation in all areas.Ç
✔︎ Free style and Mediterranean crusing are the most preferred by European customers.

Keynote speech
• Marta Blanco, President CEOE INTERNATIONAL and President of CEOE TOURISM, CULTURE and SPORT (CEOE – Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain)

✔︎ All challenges can only be overcome through public/private dialogue. We MUST engage the public authorities.
✔︎ Spain´s corporations will encourage the cruise ship supply chain industry to keep investing in Spain´s tourist and industrial development areas.

ICS Talks

✔︎ Port Terminals Value Proposition needs to be reshaped to meet passenger expectations.
✔︎ A need for much more investment, not much design thinking and not a lot of experienced design had gone into the cruise ports, or daily experience of the independent guests.
✔︎ Whilst he sees a role in improving the land experience, GPH will not be moving into the shore excursion business.
✔︎ A target of 26 ports by 2025 with a stretched target of 30.
✔︎ Individual ports who are not investing/innovating he says should be concerned, but GPH helps to bring ships to a region.
✔︎ If ports think they can be part of GPH, go and talk to GPH stating why.

International Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways

Presentation: Measuring “quality” across different types of ship

✔︎ Quality doesn’t always cost money.
✔︎ Interior design, bathroom and room display, amenities, food display in restaurants, decorations, and elegant attention to detail in bathrooms, public areas is paramount for passenger satisfaction.
✔︎ The varied needs of couples, families, seniors and solo travellers have made ship as a destination a reality.
✔︎ Each region has its preferences. China is already the second biggest source market and interiors and features need to be approached very differently.

Presentation: Silversea’s S.A.L.T programme
• Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer SILVERSEA CRUISES 

Session 2: Food glorious food
More and more cruise lines are using Gastronomy as a marketing concept. How successful has this been, how has experience for guests improved and how can local suppliers play a part in enhancing guest experience at destinations.

• Moderator: Adam Coulter, Managing Editor CRUISE CRITIC UK
• Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer SILVERSEA CRUISES
• Patricia Palacios, Under-Secretary of Markets, Investments and International Relations MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF ECUADOR
• Helen Beck, Vice President, International Sales and Marketing CRYSTAL CRUISES
• Benny Weidacher, Vice President Ship Operations PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Janette Petty de Reddel, Shorex Manager Italy & France MEDOV

✔︎ The importance of sourcing food locally/provenance of food.
✔︎ Passengers are well-informed and want to experience more – both on and off the ship.
✔︎ There are an increasing number of food and/or wine-themed shore excursions on offer.
✔︎ Food isn’t necessarily a decider for someone looking to book a cruise but it can be a driver, especially if the line is associated with a name chef.
✔︎ There is a worldwide shortage of good chefs.
✔︎ Passengers want to get deeper into a culture and food is one of the best ways to do it.
✔︎ Destinations are increasingly keen to showcase their food offerings. It’s a challenge to get into the supply chain however. It’s easier with river cruising.

Presentation: From history to innovation in cruise ship design
• Carlos Reyes, Managing Partner TOMAS TILLBERG DESIGN

Session 3: From concept to christening – bringing a ship to the market
Creating a cruise ship is a complicated business with many stakeholders having to work together to extremely tight deadlines. What are the key challenges and how do we continue to bring relevant new features and facilities that influence guests’ cruise purchase decision?

• Moderator: Tomas Matesanz, Chief Communication Officer & Senior Advisor CRUISES NEWS MEDIA GROUP
• Carlos Reyes, Managing Partner TOMAS TILLBERG DESIGN
• Arnaud Le-Joncour, Commercial & Marketing Director CHANTIERS DE L´ATLANTIQUE
• Trevor Young, Vice President New Buildings MSC CRUISES

✔︎ Good ideas on paper need to be realistic/deliverable before they can realised.
✔︎ First class project managers with experience are in great demand.
✔︎ New build yards are different from dry-dock/refurb yards. Different skills. Deadlines and timings are critical.
✔︎ New Builds give more room for building and innovating.
✔︎ The “new” X-Bow design was actually around in the 1920s, but too much “roll” on ships.
✔︎ 21 days for a dry-dock is not long enough from a yard point of view.
✔︎ Different cultures need different internal design (e.g. Chinese vs. South Americans).
✔︎ There was a suggestion that in the longer term more medium/smaller ships will replace the bigger ships.
✔︎ Expedition is here to stay as the biggest growing cruise experience.
✔︎ Interior design is now an additional purchase decision factor.

International Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways

Presentation: New cruise company in business – blue world voyages
• Gene Meehan, Chairman BLUE WORLD VOYAGES

✔︎ Is likely to be a converted ship rather than a new-build.
✔︎ Aiming for 2021 launch.
✔︎ 2 bedroomed residency $3,375,000.

Presentation: The business cycle in the cruise industry

✔︎ Barriers to entry enable companies to move from red oceans of bloody competition to blue oceans of profitable growth.
✔︎ Shift from Cruise Destination MARKETING to Cruise Destination MANAGEMENT.
✔︎ Shift from Cruise Region PROMOTION to Cruise Region STRATEGY.
✔︎ Seamless Land-Sea SMARTNESS (Digital Holiday Experience).
✔︎ Movement Towards Tourism PORTFolio Management (Integration of Cruise Tourism in the overall tourism strategy).
✔︎ Beyond short-term economic and political opportunism… Towards long-term value-creation through Public-Private-Partnerships and Profit-Sharing.

Presentation: Monitoring the tourist flows in a city
• Ignacio Barrios, CEO KIDO DYNAMICS

✔︎ There are challenges in assessing exiting over-tourism situations.
✔︎ Data is expensive.
✔︎ Managing data is complex and requires new skills.
✔︎ Aggregated at country, not local level.
✔︎ Snapshot at a particular point in time.
✔︎ Kido uses mobile phone data to assess tourist flows.
✔︎ It can be evidenced – using Palma as an example, how airports can witness significantly more people than ports. 

Session 4: Data – The new gold!
Data driven cruise lines race to gain advances over their competitors by using insights for more targeted marketing, yield and revenue management, and personalization. Similarly, connectivity at sea is becoming more cost effective and allowing the transfer of a much higher volume of data between ship and shore. How far can technology shape the cruise industry of the future?

• Moderator: Ian Richardson, CEO and Co-Founder THEICEWAY
• Mike Hall, Head of Marketing CRUISE AND MARITIME VOYAGES
• Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Services FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINE
• Tony Roberts, Vice President UK & Europe PRINCESS CRUISES
• Luca Pronzati, Chief Business Innovation Officer MSC CRUISES
• Adam Sharp, Head of Business Development EMEA ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES

✔︎ Data driven organisations are…23 times more likely to acquire customers.
✔︎ We live in a digital ecosystem where collecting guest data to further personalize their experience is critical.
✔︎ 6 times as likely to retain customers.
✔︎ 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result…according to McKinsey Global Institute.
✔︎ Cruise Lines are involving new technology on board, such as “MSC for Me” and Princess Medallion.
✔︎ RCCL collects guest data that helps it with operations, e.g. queue management.
✔︎ Also helps in the number of deciding number of security machines, check-in staff and so on.
✔︎ Fred Olsen demonstrated its use of data to measure customer satisfaction.
✔︎ Intercruises needs data to understand their preferences but security and safety of their passengers becomes paramount with big data tracking info.

Presentation: An analysis of the new-build order book and the assessment of the impact for destinations
• David Selby, Managing Director TRAVELYIELDS LTD.

✔︎ By 2027, ¼ of global passengers will arrive on ships > 330m.
✔︎ Just under ¾ of global passengers will arrive on ships > 280m.
✔︎ Fleet is becoming polarised towards very small or very large ships.
✔︎ Ships <156m. – 21% of the fleet will provide 2% of the volume.
✔︎ How do ports invest and what sort of traffic does a port want to …or can the destination handle?

International Cruise Summit 2019 - Key takeaways

Session 5: Overcoming the latest challenges in ports and destinations
The industry has recently faced a number of challenges in ports and destinations, ranging from increasing tourist taxes, congestion, over-tourism, and emissions to name but a few. Our final session brings together a top panel of cruise operations specialists to tell of their experiences and to discuss solutions going forward.

• Moderator: Carla Salvadó, Director of Cruise Marketing GLOBAL PORTS HOLDING
• Maite Casas, Senior Manager Port Operations & Ground Handling PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Spyros Almperty, Senior Director Port Operations SILVERSEA CRUISES
• Mar Pérez, Director Cruise BARCELONA PORT
• Alessandro Carollo, Director Port Services ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD.
• Sander Groothuis, Director Port Operations CARNIVAL UK (P&O AND CUNARD)

✔︎ Biggest port challenges = Infrastructure, Congestion and Tariff Visivility/increases.
✔︎ Biggest destination challenges = “Tourismphobia”, Overcrowding, Sustainability.
✔︎ Some simple things aren’t provided for e.g. gangways. Please address say cruise lines.
✔︎ What are minimum port requirements for new ships? Please communicate cruise lines.
✔︎ Why do some ports announce tariffs so late? Not necessary.
✔︎ Variable tariff according to day of week should be a logical approach.
✔︎ On tariffs, all cruise lines need to know is the TOTAL cost/bottom lines.
✔︎ Ports – know what your private suppliers (e.g. pilots) are charging cruise lines through the port agent.
✔︎ If destinations want to charge a tourist tax, it basically comes down to what the market will bear.
✔︎ Congestion needs to be addressed with more responsibility and due diligence. Itinerary planners give ports 2 years in advance for planning ship and berth allocation. More communication and taskforces need to be included to address this issue.

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