During the 2017 Skift Global Forum in September in New York City, we heard from a host of the travel industry’s top leaders from across every sector. And after first speaking to them on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,100, we took another few minutes with them to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.
In our behind-the-scenes conversation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke about what younger cruisers want, the evolution of work-life balance, and why his company builds such big ships.
“I am often asked how big can cruise ships get,” Fain said. “We have a number of the world’s largest cruise ships and we have found that people actually are willing to pay more for a better experience. There are simply some things you can only do on a larger vessel.”
Fain said he has noticed that the conversation about work-life balance, especially among younger generations, has shifted to a focus on work-life integration.
“They need to be able to do both while they’re going on, and they accept that,” he said.
Fain said millennials especially are craving experiences when they travel: “They want to buy memories. Fortunately for us, that’s our sweet spot.”
That desire for experiences factors into the way travelers spend every part of their cruise; Fain said that while passengers want to enjoy their time on the ship, they also want to experience local culture when they’re on land.
“We’ve lengthened our time in ports in many cases,” he said. “We are also looking at more sustainable forms of tourism, so we want to work with the local people to make sure that the tourism is helping the economy and the environment and the people as a whole.”