he next cable TV reality show, as we
report in this issue, will depict captains of industry -- CEOs and
senior vice presidents -- rolling up their sleeves, working the
front lines and getting an appreciation for what their employees do
It's a great concept, and we think The Learning Channel's
viewers will be entertained. We also think the travel companies
that participated will be better off. One improvement has already
taken root at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. After CEO Jonathan Tisch
did time as a bellboy there last summer, he ordered up lighter
uniforms more appropriate to Miami's tropical climate.
Of course, this is not a new concept. Senior managers at various
companies over the years have made a show of stepping up and
pitching in to connect with their employees.
Two decades ago, People Express Airlines made it a company
policy that senior executives rotate in and out of jobs like
answering the phone and cleaning airplanes. More recently, JetBlue
CEO David Neeleman has been seen slinging bags from time to
Overall, we think it's a fine idea for company executives to
gain, or renew, an appreciation for the work of front-line
employees. But the educational process shouldn't end there.
Travel sellers at all levels could help by reminding travelers
to be respectful when being waited on, to factor in gratuities as
part of the cost of travel and to remember that some of their most
memorable and satisfying experiences will have come about because
of the quiet and continuous efforts of people they rarely notice or
• • •
he Cruise Lines International
Association is justifiably proud of its performance in 2003.
Despite war, SARS and other impediments to travel, CLIA members
accommodated a record 9.5 million passengers worldwide, an increase
of 10.2% over 2002.
In the North American market, growth was a bit more modest, as
the passenger count rose 6.9% and approached 8 million.
These are good numbers by any measure, and that's pretty much
the end of the story -- except that we can't resist the temptation
to add a footnote.
Despite the "close-to-home" syndrome, the increasing activity at
secondary ports in the U.S. and very attractive pricing, cruising's
growth in North America lagged behind the growth rate reported
One effect of this uneven growth rate is that the CLIA lines
boarded 83% of their passengers in North America last year, down
from 86.2% in 2002.
As 2003 began, CLIA said the market could grow to 8.3 million
North American passengers and 9.6 million worldwide. Who would have
guessed at the time that the cruise lines would come closer to
hitting the second number than the first?