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Home > News4Stews > Setting Standards

Setting Standards


April is upon us and the season is here so much quicker than anticipated but that is the usual story for yachts – always too much to do all at the last minute. It seems that it is the same for training and now there is just not enough time to fit it in if you haven’t already done any. Even if you have not managed to do training or career development this winter there are still things you can do to add value to your performance.



The yachts we work on are owned by all different type of people, of different nationalities and with different expectations but what they have in common is that they can afford to own a yacht of the size and expense relative to their wealth and the majority are individuals of high net worth. This means high expectations, large appetites for luxury and very high standards but are we meeting these expectations and providing these standards?


During my career, I have found that many of these yacht owners have become disillusioned by the standards provided by their crew and no longer expect their needs to be fulfilled with professionalism or style. Some no longer complain or correct crew when they are not providing a sufficient level of service and during training courses I am also finding evidence of this when discussing service with my students. Why would a yacht owner accept unsatisfactory service?


My answer to this is, that as an owner of yacht, using it as a second home, for family vacations or as a place to escape their high stress business life, they do not want to constantly be correcting crew. How many crew do you think may have passed through an individual yacht over a period of 5, 10 or 20 years? The yachts that have long-term crew are the exception so the number can be quite high. Eventually, the yacht owner just starts to accept that every few years crew will move on and with each new crew member, there needs to be training by the owner of how they want things. As a long standing Chief Stewardess I know just how frustrating this can be.


What can you, the stewardess or steward do to raise the standard of your own performance?


There is a lot an individual can do and at any point in your career – with or without training, that will help to elevate your performance and it is all about raising your own standards. It is also way easier than you think. There are some very easy things you can introduce to your way of working that will bring results and value to your performance on a daily basis.



This means be conscious of what you are doing. Yes, the work can get repetitive and tedious but by being present you are aware, focused on the task at hand and everything you are thinking and feeling is concentrating on what you are doing. By being present you can pick up or sense when things are being done correctly, you learn what works well and what doesn’t and you understand when there is a problem.



Own what you are doing. Avoid the negative brain chatter about cleaning toilets or making beds and instead aim to make it the cleanest toilet or best made bed. When you give everything to the job you are doing, you can finish with a sense of pride as well as the feeling that you have done your best. Doing your absolute best allows you to rest easy and to have a sense of achievement with everything you do. It makes you happy.



So, you have decided to be a yacht stewardess. Commit to this and apply your commitment every day. Learn everything you can from anyone and everyone you work with by asking questions, observe how others do things and learn from your experiences. Your brain is now your database of information so keep filling it up. Keep seeking new knowledge regardless of how long you have been in the industry – life is one long journey of learning and there is always something to be gained by new skills.



Understanding yourself is all about being aware of how you work, how you react, how you deal with problems and how you interact with others. Your own personality traits can be your own stumbling block to achieving what you want so develop an understanding of what your working style is and use it to your advantage. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and learn from any mistakes. If you can accept your shortcomings, you can overcome them.



In service we talk about “Mise En Place” or putting things in place prior to service. This can be applied to anything you do in yachting; interior or exterior, in housekeeping or in service. If you prepare well you are ready to deal with all eventualities and it means thinking about what you are about to do. If you practice the 5 P’s “Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” your performance gets better and you deliver better results.



This means being responsible for your actions. Take ownership of what you do and make a personal investment in ensuring you do things to the best of your ability. This also means no excuses when something goes wrong and recognising your part when it does. Choose to own what you do.



Working on a yacht can be an amazing and rewarding experience, with highs and lows and everything in between. In my experience, the standards you set for yourself and your work will dictate what and how much you gain from your career. Changing your mind set and aiming high, loving what you do and doing it with all of your heart shows in your face, in your body language and in the end result which will be a happy and satisfied guest or owner. The added bonus is your own feeling of wellbeing and satisfaction of a job well done.


Make the summer season of 2018, the season where you go for it with all of your heart and lift your standards to be the best you can be.


At VIP Service School we wish you the best of the best.