Business Travel: Cruise into Your Next Meeting


Business Travel: Cruise into Your Next Meeting

<strong>TRAVEL LEADERS</strong>

If you’ve been thinking that it’s time for a change of pace at your next business meeting or corporate retreat, consider holding it on a cruise ship. You may be surprised by some of the advantages.

Recent surveys indicate that the majority of Americans have never taken a cruise, so you’re likely to have many first-timers along with veterans. That creates a sense of adventure, a new environment that can help stimulate creativity. In addition to getting work done, it’s a bonding opportunity. You’re creating a new experience for many of your employees, ensuring that this is one business trip they’ll never forget. And veteran cruise hands will appreciate another opportunity to travel a way that they love.

Cruise ship ports are easily accessible from many cities, so it’s easy to plan a trip of several days, a week or more to popular locations like Mexico or the Caribbean. Wherever a cruise ship can go, your business can go, too. No matter which destination you choose, you’ll have a blend of interesting and enjoyable ports of call combined with days at sea to conduct business. It’s a bleisure experience for your employees that can help boost morale if they see it as an opportunity for some time for a built-in vacation.

The atmosphere on a cruise ship is casual and relaxing, perfect for building camaraderie, and that can help improve teamwork. A cruise ship is a self-contained environment, so there’s a greater chance that coworkers will get together with each other or participating clients when they are off the clock more than they would at other venues. As people get to know each other and take part in the same experiences, whether it’s by the pool, dining together or on a shore excursion, they’ll feel more comfortable with each other. That can lead to better collaboration and brainstorming on the job as people become more confident about sharing ideas and opinions.

A cruise can offer some financial advantages for businesses, too.

With items like meals, entertainment, equipment and sometimes meeting space included, the cost of holding a business meeting or retreat on a cruise ship could end up being cheaper than holding it in a hotel as you don’t have both banquet expenses and separate meal reimbursements. Plus, rather than having to rely on a preplanned banquet menu, a cruise ship offers employees a wide range of dining options.

Cruise ships also provide companies with access to a wide variety of amenities that would usually cost more on land, like a large auditorium and state-of-the-art multimedia technology, with sound, lighting and projection systems. You’ll have access to all of the tools you need to make a presentation, such as microphones, screens and podiums.

Ships are adaptable, too. Companies can book part of a ship or charter an entire vessel. Whether your business requires an intimate lounge for a couple dozen people or a spacious theater that can hold hundreds, whether you need a classroom or a trade show setup, there’s likely to be something on this floating city that fits your needs. There’s still the option of holding events in outdoor spaces, like a reception area or on a pool deck.