Residents & Guests of Five-Star 'Hotel on the Water' Receive Personal Attention in Hundreds of Global Ports

When clients are the créme de la créme, operators cannot take risks with customer service — especially when their guests own the property. This is the case with The World, a 644-foot luxury residential ship with more than 120 owners of its elegant apartments.  The apartment owners enjoyed the floating lifestyle so much, they partnered to acquire the ship itself in 2003. The ship continuously circumnavigates the globe with a staff of multi-lingual concierges that deliver personalized service to the most experienced travelers anywhere. The primary challenge is finding and providing information on the best restaurants, shopping and entertainment in ports ranging from Hong Kong to Sydney, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Dublin, Rio and about 100 others.  

ResidenSea, which operates and manages The World, automated the ship's complex guest services operation with The Concierge Assistant a comprehensive hospitality concierge software system from Gold Key Solutions that is used by hundreds of exclusive luxury destinations and Five Star properties internationally. 

The World is probably Gold Key's most interesting implementation, but one that the Concierge Assistant (CA) handles with aplomb. "We think of ourselves as a five-star community at sea rather than a cruise ship," says Ceci Leger, corporate concierge for ResidenSea, the Miramar, FL-based company that manages The World, a 12-deck vessel housing 165 private residences. "Our international multilingual concierge team uses CA to share guest request information with other appropriate staff.  This instantly enables us to fulfill the desires of our residents and guests professionally and quickly."

The World is their oyster
To say that resident owners of a customized 12-deck ship are accustomed to a very high level of personal service is an understatement. "CA is a great tool because we have hundreds and hundreds of variables that our resident owners list as preferences," says Leger. "These may be preferred transportation, currency, hobbies, flower preferences, and how they want their apartments prepared prior to their arrival. We input these in our Concierge Assistant database for each resident and update the information through regularly distributed questionnaires and onboard meetings."

The World's staff provides detailed information on each port of call and CA enables them to tailor and deliver custom itineraries to each resident based on their preferences. "This is a different concierge process than any other operation," says Leger, who is a Les Clefs d'Or member and manages three on-board concierges from her shore-based office in Miramar. "I research each port of call in advance and upload my findings through our satellite link to the shipboard system daily to synchronize our databases. Gold Key created a Remote Contact Manager that enables me to export my findings instantaneously to the ship so residents are up to date with the latest in-port events."

What is your pleasure?
While arranging group activities is sufficient for the concierge team on a typical cruise ship, the residents on The World have a different level of expectation. "We may provide a white-linen gourmet beach BBQ in the Seychelles for all residents and guests or a private dinner for two in an owner's apartment. Most of our owners prefer to make their own plans, and we honor their wishes and protect their privacy," says Leger.

Service trend analysis
ResidenSea senior management values CA's ability to provide an accurate picture of the "logbook activity" which clearly itemizes the service usage patterns as well as the amount of time being dedicated to the fulfillment of requests. "We use this data in our quarterly activity reports to the ownership board," according to Leger. "It is an accurate reflection of the trends in our ship-board community, which among other things, makes it easier for us to identify where our attention should be focused to meet and, hopefully, anticipate the needs of our residents and guests."

According to a long time resident of this ship, "The real luxury is that at the end of every day, we are back in own private world. Everything is provided to feel supremely comfortable aboard; a friendly and attentive staff, wonderful restaurants, great food; as well as tennis and swimming to keep us fit. The World is a great community of like-minded friends. All this, and the adventure of exploring and enjoying the whole world, without ever leaving the comfort of home...pure bliss."
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