Global pandemic. These unprecedented times. Post-COVID-19 world. Current crisis. New normal. These are just a few of the words and phrases that we not part of our vocabulary less than six months ago but have been so engrained in our business and everyday lives that they need no introduction or explanation. So, let’s get right to it:
A new normal requires a new model
We recently announced our Health and Safety Maturity Model as a framework to navigate the adoption of new policies and procedures regarding health and safety. I wrote about the why: why we as a company feel we must act and how the conversation should be collaborative. I wrote about the how: how our deep experience in cruise helped us create this framework and how it can apply to other sectors. Today we tackle the next steps in our proposed collaborative model.
As a Cruise Line Industry Association Diamond Partner, we stand with the industry as we collectively work toward strategies that will increase the level of safety for all souls in our care. Per the norm, the path forward will be comprised of people, process, and technology but for something this substantial, we also think it requires a unifying framework.
While cruise has done more than practically any other form of travel, this most recent crisis has proven that the ‘more’ was simply not enough. Rather than waiting to have guidelines and requirements imposed, I think the industry (via CLIA or a set of brands) should take the lead here: a new perspective on health and safety from fresh eyes.
The goal is to establish a new, safer baseline (Level 3 is recommended in the model) while also outlining further measures that can be taken to increase the health, safety and security of all parties involved. The additional levels would allow the lines to further assure their crew, guests and the world of the safety of cruising while also potentially providing a differentiator for insurance down the road. Given the action already, the levels could be modified to include things like PPE (masks) or even integration with digital health passports. The core Digitized Health Reporting can truly be expanded and leveraged in innovative ways just to hint toward a few areas of opportunity that would make real and tangible improvements to the overall safety.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there is no silver bullet. When we faced the reality of having to help establish a new normal, we looked at other times in recent history where this was also the case. An easy and clear parallel was found in a tragic moment in American history, the September 11th attacks. When confronted with a crisis, it helps to frame the threat and create a model to either ascribe levels of risk or mitigations to the risks that are somehow either obvious or self-evident.
While we are deeply concerned for our shared industry, we also realize the ramifications (and possible approaches) are shared by various adjacent industries, and only by evaluating those scenarios can we adequately strive toward a common set of approaches that will cover the near term tactical needs while also setting a path toward strategic growth as the problem space (and solution options) evolve.
While we obviously do not own a cruise line, our hearts are very much part of this market and more so, with our colleagues and friends.
We propose a new model, not a specific set of solutions
The goal is to set guidelines but not force application or approach (and most notably, not demand or dictate one partner, vendor or technology stack.)
As I previously stated, our natural bias will always slide toward technology solutions when faced with a problem. That said, technology specifics are not really the point. The point is creating a set of standards that cruise lines (and other businesses) can aspire to (or be mandated to comply with) that re-establish trust; the trust of their crew, their guests and ports of calls they visit as well as the public at large.
The benefits of the technology should be obvious and the largest impediment — the collection and usage of personal information — should be covered by the explicit exchange of trust that occurs for guests, crew and visitors while in the care of the line. There is a duty that comes along with one’s presence on a ship and the secure protection, collection and application of this data (when done so in a secure and compliant manner) should go miles to making everyone feel and actually be safer. We are already aggressively working to partner with experts in the field and extend infrastructure to experts where it makes sense. This is a process made better by partner collaboration, which is another reason we are calling for the open, collaborative model.
We know that our technology can be used for many of these levels, but you will notice the specifics of the technology are not mandated, dictated, or required. These steps feel like the right things to do. I will not pretend that we may not benefit if lines choose to use our tools and technology, but I do not see anything wrong with that fact. I am proud of our company and our approach and feel sure (now more than ever) that we can be part of the solution.
We have already seen fantastic efforts by industry and partners to attempt to address these challenges. That passion and innovation in all aspects can be channeled and help lead, collaboratively, to a set of milestones that establish safer practices, environments and experiences and create a phenomenal proving ground for innovation that would be directly transferable to other industries.
“Don’t just sit there; DO SOMETHING!”
I lean toward the dramatic and the Schuller quote above is being used for effect. That said, the message is clear. Our industry is working hard to investigate, research and respond but it does seem like it is being forced to wait. There are plenty of areas where innovation across industry and lines specifically must be safeguarded; unique pieces or approaches that make a line preferable to one audience or another. Safety, security and health are not those areas.
We are all in this together. And while our world faces many more critical challenges than how to get cruise sailing again, to ignore the economic impact of this would be willfully ignorant and costly beyond the balance sheets of the lines and all companies who exist to support and service the industry. Booking data shows there is pent up demand even in absence of information making anyone feel safer.
None of us want that. We all want to make our products, experiences and environments safer. It is simply true. It is also simply true that until our potential crew, guests and the respective governing bodies agree that the industry is safer, these majestic vessels will continue to be stark reminders of a tragic time in our history, sailing near empty with no planned destination instead of the gorgeous feats of engineering that have been the source of so many priceless memories, exhilarating adventures and lifelong relationships.
It is time to do something. Contact us to be part of the conversation.