Column: How to Be an Innovator

Young man with nerdy black glasses sitting on a book hill, drawing his ideas creatively on the wall behind him while looking at his computer.
Photo by bowie15/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

What a varied and talented roster of cruise innovators and influencers we have in this issue. Our senior cruise editor, Susan Young, did extensive research and consulted with top advisors and experts to create the feature. 

Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero,
Vice President–Content/Editorial Director

The accomplishments of this group are many; however, there are likely a number of similar traits that got them on this prestigious list. Here are some tips on how you can bring their innovative skills to your own business.

  • Dream Big: Don’t let your million-dollar idea get away from you because your day-to-day tasks suck away all your best energy. Give your vision space to become an elaborate fantasy. Spend a weekend without your phone and write everything down. Otherwise you won’t remember all your brilliance when you’re back to real life.
     
  • Be Fearless: What, your groundbreaking concept has never been done? You live in the best time ever to accomplish something spectacular. While you’re sleeping, other innovators are inventing ways to execute the impossible.
     
  • Network: Find others who are also trying to accomplish the unlikely so you can adapt their mindset. Sometimes drinking the Kool-Aid can be a good thing if the Kool-Aid will get you from Point A to Point B.
     
  • Ignore Criticism: Naysayers and even people you think you know very well will try to talk you out of your big idea or drop negative vibes your way when you least expect it. Practice for that moment; imagine yourself bracing from criticism and rising above the noise. Create a calm place in your brain where your dreams are safe.
     
  • Size Doesn’t Matter: You don’t have to come up with the next app, the biggest ship ever or a way to commandeer artificial intelligence technology to clean your house. You might have a concept to deliver a travel experience in a completely new way. Consumers have never been more open to receiving new types of services and they’re longing to be heard. If your simple plan will give them what they want, you may be sitting on a gold mine.
     
  • Get Help From Bright People: I know, you’re thinking, “I’m a loner. I want to work all by myself.” Yeah, me too. But that other person’s brain might be able to pick up on things yours isn’t because you’re so deep into your vision that you can’t see the big picture. 
     
  • Manage That Talent: It’s tempting in an entrepreneurial setting to let everyone spread their wings and fly in the direction the wind is taking them; however, you need to have structure in your organization. If that’s not your thing, hire a manager who can nurture the creativity in a direction that will get results.
     
  • Don’t Homogenize. Notice how those executives who handle multiple ship lines ensure each of those lines is unique? If you have several brands in your portfolio, let them breathe and grow organically. Keep your ability to synergize costs and services in the back of the house where the client will never see it.
     
  • Let Luxury Happen: Think there’s no way you can make a product or a service even better? Consider what an ultra-luxury travel experience was 20 years ago compared to what’s possible today. Study the consumer, dig deep into quality research and assess what the commonalities are. Deliver on those needs and relentlessly continue to survey your customers. What they want from you right now is not what they’ll want next month. Their lust to have their desires heard and their needs addressed will never be quelled, however. 

Related Stories

Insight Into Travel’s New Borders

Luxury Travel Advisor’s ULTRA Summit

May 21-23, 2019 | Reunion | Kissimmee, FL

This exclusive, invite-only event focused on the luxury travel market brings together world-class travel agency owners and managers with the most opulent, luxury suppliers to cultivate collaboration, share insights, and help carve a path into the future of luxury travel.

Celebrating Paris: The City of Light Continues to Shine

Top 10 Tips to Run Your Travel Agency Business

Travel Industry Exchange Opens in New Orleans