CLIA Hails First-Ever Hotel Operations, Food and Beverage Event a Success

CLIA welcomed almost 300 participants to its inaugural Hotel Operations, Food and Beverage (HFB) conference in Miami last month.

Interactive and innovative business sessions included important topics such as how to engage with cruise lines, studying challenges within supply chain logistics, innovations in food and beverage, and how lines are looking to make the onboard experience more sustainable. Alongside these, were opportunities for one-to-one business networking, more than 700 individual appointments were booked, plus a series of social events.

Julia M. Brown, chief procurement officer, Carnival Corporation & PLC, and chair of CLIA’s HFB working group, said: “This is a great platform for new-to-cruise suppliers to learn about best practice. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the challenges and opportunities, but this event is a great way to kick off dialogue and networking.”

Royal Caribbean’s senior vice-president supply chain, travel, port services and workplace solutions, Mike Jones, said: “It’s all about relationships; leveraging existing ones and making new ones. This is a great event to give wide access and to understand who the key decision makers are.”

The over-arching aim of the event was to bring together key cruise line executives, brands and suppliers, for formal and informal business networking opportunities. The event was a great chance for decisionmakers to discuss best practice, big ideas and new areas of focus for 2019, with the added benefit of learning from leading practitioners from inside and outside of the industry.

Key takeaways from the event included:

Sustainability needs to be a part of your entire business; and it needs to be an area of collaboration, not competition.

Be inclusive and expansive when it comes to planning menus, including plant-based diets and gluten-free options.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up, remold and rebuild them into something new by collaborating with partners.

There are more than 100 new ships on the global orderbook and these all need to be serviced and suppliers will need to work more collaboratively with their counterparts from the cruise enterprise to enable the supply chain more efficiently and effectively.

Bo Nylandsted Larsen, CLIA’s senior vice-president, strategic partnerships, said: “I’m delighted with the great energy and participation of everyone at this first event for this new community. There was a great spirit of collaboration and everyone took time to share ideas with colleagues, old and new.

“Feedback has been very positive, and we also received a lot of new ideas and input that will determine our future activities and benefits for this burgeoning community.”