Full Speed Ahead: Industry Predictions for 2021 – Neil Shorthouse
We recently said goodbye to one of the most tumultuous years for the cruise industry in recent memory. As we move into 2021, the industry is forecast a better year, with high amounts of newbuild and refurbishment projects in the books, pre-bookings for cruises through the roof, and exciting new ships launching on their delayed first sailings. To launch into the year in a positive way, we’ve asked the star-studded Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo Advisory Board to lay out their predictions for 2021. Without further ado, dive into the crystal ball of Hospitality Consultant Neil Shorthouse, Shorthouse Hospitality, all the way from the Maldives…
Prediction 1 – a slow return to normality
We have entered the New Year with, thankfully, tourists returning to resorts here in the Maldives. However, we must also remember that our colleagues overseas, in certain countries and within the cruise sector, have yet to reopen and welcome guests and tourists back to enjoy such delights as sunsets at sea, exploring cities such as London or Bangkok, or experiencing the sandbanks in the Maldives. Pre-COVID-19 we took so much for granted, in the sense that we had tourists and guests visiting and enjoying hospitality in many forms, thus ensuring employment, security and growth. At present this has been taken from us, and we are unsure as to when this shall return and in what format.
Prediction 2 – a kinder future for hospitality
The UK are pushing for a Minister of Hospitality, which is a great step forward. I do hope however that they represent all areas relating to this global industry and not just one sector, as the entire global Hospitality, Travel, Cruise & Tourism sectors have been dealt a blow that for some companies will be difficult or impossible to recover from. When a new job is posted, many apply, and in some cases are overlooked. It is going to be tough out there for everyone, so it is important to ensure that we look out for each other, and take a moment to catch-up with fellow colleagues, friends, and families during this time of uncertainty.
Prediction 3 – a leaner future for cruise
The cruise sector will make a comeback and be a much leaner and more efficient operation. We have seen many older ships being scrapped, and people cry out ‘why’? Most of these ships, albeit firm favourites of guests, actually cost more to run and operate, and actually only generate a smaller figure when it comes to occupancy levels of a cruise line. Some represent up to 20% in annual fuel costs to a cruise line, yet only generate between 5-10% of revenue to the overall company. So you will see in many cases, much newer, more fuel-efficient ships that cost less to run, and are then able to generate a better yield for the operator.
About Neil Shorthouse
Neil’s hospitality and cruise career spans more than two decades, working within top luxury brands, including Disney Cruise Line, The World, Regent Seven Seas, Soneva, Six Senses, Anantara Hotels & Resorts and Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH. He has overseen several resort openings within the Indian Ocean and the UAE. Neil worked in the launch of both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
In 2014, Neil founded Shorthouse Hospitality International, a Hospitality Services Consultancy, using his experience of creating industry-leading, revenue driving platforms for a wide range of companies. A regarded Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (IOH), and Brand Ambassador for SE Asian and the Cruise Industry for the Institute, Shorthouse also provides mentoring, executive coaching, leadership growth workshops. Shorthouse Hospitality has worked with companies that include Saga Cruises, Fred. Olsen, Regent Seven Seas and Leading Resorts in the Middle East, Maldives, Seychelles and SE Asia.
Make sure to check out Neil’s informative blog, Stories of Life at Sea, for insights into and tales of the cruise industry.