The Marine Hotel Association’s (MHA) 2021 Symposium at Sea aboard Virgin Voyages’ new Scarlet Lady is in the books, having successfully brought together cruise lines with the supplier community in an intimate environment on what is widely considered to be the industry’s most innovative new ship.
Food and beverage and hotel supply chain suppliers were able to network with cruise lines and vessel management companies over five days in a shipboard environment.
Highlights included a keynote presentation from Frank Weber, senior vice president of hotel operations for Virgin Voyages, behind the scenes access, hosted cruise line dinners, and approximately five hours of one-on-one speed networking time between decision makers and vendors.
What They Said
Bruce Tschampel: Lindblad Expeditions, Vice President, Hotel Operations: “This event is unlike any other, having so many cruise line executives together, engaging with the supplier community onboard one of the most anticipated new concept vessels with Virgin was incredible and a lot of fun.”
Eliot B. Meiseles, President, JNS Foods: “The entire event was great. We had great one on one time with these key personnel. We have been in the MHA for 30 years and this was at the top of the list.”
Dietmar R. Wertanzl, President & CEO, CMI-Leisure: “As usual, speed networking was very productive for us. The goal is to meet at least one new supplier. It was good to have an opportunity to talk in a small, intimate setting. The opportunity to get into the back of house and get the inside scoop from Frank Weber made it a bonus for us.”
Michael Baumgart, VP of Business Development, Gourmet Foods: “It was the best Symposium at Sea event thus far, and great meeting with customers and vendors … loved it.”
John McGirl, COO, The World Residences at Sea: “The event was one of the best I have ever attended, it was not only great to be reunited with friends from the Industry but also to meet new colleagues from within my peers and the supplier community. A big theme of our program was Innovations; how are we coming back into service differently; what have we learned and applied. This conversation was greatly energized by being onboard a truly innovative cruise product with Virgin Voyages, the fresh and differentiated approach they have taken to delivering the ‘Sailor’ experience got us all in a great mindset for this dialogue.”
Warren Hodgson, Vice President, North American Strategic Accounts at ADA Cosmetics International: “Sales is about relationships and the highlight was strengthening those relations in a casual, highly interactive environment. I was able to understand directly from the cruise industry what the largest challenges they are facing in product development in a post-COVID era. I will take that information and help our company respond to better serve the business.”
With the event in the books, the MHA now looks toward its Conference and Trade Show, set to be held March 6-8, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.