In February, a group of PYA GUEST-accredited trainers participated in Benetti’s 18th Yachtmaster event in the beautiful Tuscan countryside resorts of the Hotel Spa Castelfalfi and adjacent Tabaccaia Hotel.
The three-day programme of presentations to bring awareness to and demonstrate selected modules of the GUEST programme proved to be another huge success, not only for the participating interior crew, but also for the 200+ attending delegates, principally Captains, who were enlightened about the necessity of expertly-created, industry-recognised training programmes for interior crew aboard Superyachts.
Federica Brascugli from “Yachtique” started day 1 by welcoming everyone on behalf of Benetti interiors. She showed how Benetti Interiors are put together, stage by stage and explained how actively involved the interior team is with yacht owners and designers in order to provide several options for both newbuild and refit projects.
Next, the contents and structure of the GUEST program were explained to the participants, showing how GUEST creates a career path through the interior department from novice to Chief Steward/ess, leading to the Management and Leadership modules. The use of the onboard GUEST Interior Training Record Book was also explained.
Following this, Kim Woodey of KDW Training led a fun and interactive session on Housekeeping which took place in one of the hotel’s suites, with the bedroom and bathroom beautifully adorned with sumptuous linens generously provided by sponsor, Oliverihome.
Kim’s intention was to assess the students’ observation powers. Did they have the eagle eyes necessary to notice the smallest of errors in the correct interior set-up? The session kicked off with a lively competition to identify the mistakes in the cabin and bathroom set ups. There was much discussion throughout and the final feedback showed an excellent level of attention to detail by all participants. The importance of knowledge of fabric and material care on-board was also discussed, eliciting an active sharing of ideas. Various turndown methods, throw blanket folds and other fine touches to enhance the guests’ experience were demonstrated.
This type of hands-on, interactive training is precisely what is offered throughout the GUEST Program, offering in-depth understanding of the highest levels of service, housekeeping and organisational skills on both theoretical and practical levels.
The concurrently run Mixology session, sponsored and hosted by Mirko Sodi from the Campari Academy, demonstrated the creation of some inspiring cocktails from a variety of ingredients including truffle essences and maracuja syrup. Mirko expertly reviewed the basics and introduced the team to a few new twists on some classic cocktails.
Day 2 kicked off with a Team Building and Leadership session, where the delegates were divided into teams, throwing themselves into the various exercises with passion, drive and enthusiasm. Karen Passman of Impact Crew (specialising in team and leadership development onboard) ran the event with the support of the other GUEST trainers. The overall winners of the challenge were the ‘Fire Foxes’, who received their prizes during the Gala Dinner.
Accredited PYA GUEST trainer Angie Wallace of Purser Trainer presented a session on Destination Management. Effective Destination Management is fundamental to optimum guest satisfaction. As an ex-purser, and now a Purser trainer, Angie has gained experience beyond that of a Chief Stewardess, understanding the logistics involved with guest trips, as well as the importance of safety and security considerations. She showed how presenting the information in an eye-catching and informative way and effectively communicating with everyone involved in the planning stages are essential to a successful guest trip. She encouraged the students to think ‘out of the box’, using their senses to provide guests with wonderful memories, making each cruise more exceptional than the last.
The Etiquette and Communication module was presented by independent GUEST accredited trainer, Lynne Edwards, representing the PYA as their Director of Interior Training and bringing 35 years of experience in the Superyacht industry with her. Lynne highlighted the importance of communication between Owners, Management Companies, Crew Agencies, Captains, HoDs and all other crew and interacted with the students to highlight different forms of verbal and non-verbal communication and using the correct forms of address for titled guests. A short, light-hearted roleplay was enacted led by Kim, playing the obnoxious Duchess of Fauntleroy and ably assisted by volunteers from the audience, who played the parts of her wayward toy boy, the Captain and four stewardesses. Although done in a humorous fashion, the scenario highlighted the challenges of the cognitive dissonance experienced by interior crew when guests behave in a difficult way or when issues of alcohol and/or drug abuse are faced, along with possible sexual harassment – and the ways in which these challenges should be handled.
The final afternoon’s Food Service session was run by Renata Balla, Cruise and Yacht specialist of the Luxury Hospitality Group. In the fun and interactive workshop, Renata highlighted the importance of having an eye for detail and symmetry in table laying and of planning and communication prior to and during service, particularly when practicing synchronised service.
GUEST-accredited floristry trainer Sachiko Katsrada, of “Sachi Flowers” ran two Floristry sessions, during which she expertly explained the selection, preparation and care of cut flowers. She demonstrated how to make perfect floral arrangements with a few invaluable techniques and tips which are useful when creating floral designs for yachts. The participants worked in teams and using some techniques they had learned in the previous Leadership module, they had to create arrangements and bouquets which were used to decorate the entranceway and stage for the evening’s Gala party. Prizes were awarded to Sachi’s students for their demonstration of Creativity, Detail and Teamwork. Everyone surprised themselves with the wonderful displays they created after just 75 minutes of instruction.
THE GUEST Program would like to thank its sponsors for providing some of the high quality materials and products which were used on the day. Infinito Designs (tableware for the service presentations); JAB Anstoetz Group (carpets, curtains and upholstery); Aqua dell’ Elba (beautifully designed fragrance diffusers); Oliverihome (bedroom and bathroom linens).
Last, but not least a special word of thanks to Paola Caccavallo, Nicole Giannecchini, Karen Bauer, their team from Benetti for all their hard work in making this event possible.
Feedback from the event’s participants:
- “This event gave me an amazing overview. The whole experience was exciting and eye-opening. I treasure every piece of knowledge I take home with me”
- “A lovely experience – great explanations, advice and training”
- “A very important experience, I will definitely use the information aboard”
- “After my second year with the GUEST program, I am doing my job better and have more to teach my team.”
- “Awesome experience, Great teachers”
- “I enjoyed every moment. It was well put together with so much information that is really applicable”
- “Fantastic and Enthusiastic training”
- “This training makes everybody’s job easier and the owners happier!”
- “After 10 years in the industry, I still learnt new things”
- “I loved ALL the training and the lecturers were AMAZING”
- “I loved the enthusiasm and knowledge of the trainers”
For more information about the GUEST program, its curriculum, accredited trainers and training providers, please visit www.guest-program.com