It’s no secret that exceptional work stems from the power of collaboration. So in addition to featuring notable young professionals and entrepreneurs every single day, we’ll be chatting to some of Canada’s best teams every Thursday to get an inside look at how they combine talents to stand out in their industry. Today we’re talking to the team behind Toronto’s Mariposa Cruises…
Describe what you and your team focus on in less than 140 characters. Go.
Our team focuses on event details. From planning weddings on the water to executing corporate events, we focus on delivering the best possible cruise experience.
What kick ass projects/programs have you been working on recently?
We’ve had a really busy summer of cocktail cruises, weekend brunch cruises, specialty dinner cruises, and our season isn’t even close to over. Just like in New York and Chicago, we cruise until New Year’s Eve here in Toronto.
Right now we’re focused on developing amazing fall programming and holiday season cruise parties like our New Year’s Eve gala and famous ugly sweater cruise. Next year is our 30th anniversary, which is a pretty huge accomplishment in the seasonal hospitality business. We are really excited to start working on this.
What are some of the benefits of working on a team?
The best benefit is the support that comes from working closely with others with the same goals. We bounce ideas off of one another, we laugh, we commiserate, we celebrate. At the end of day, we share the same challenges and successes and can best understand how to support each other. Friendships develop when you spend time together each day.
What are some the biggest challenges you have faced?
No cruise event is ever the same. Each brings a different crowd with different expectations. With so many moving parts in this business, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected and meet challenges as they come. From occasional mechanical breakdowns, to extreme weather, to supplier shortages, to crew stuck in traffic, to melting wedding cakes… there are lots of challenges, but in hospitality you learn to smile through adversity and keep your sense of humour, composure, and bring forward a solution — quick!
Do you have any advice for young professionals working within a team?
Be open to others and respectful of differing opinions. Don’t sweat the small stuff and support each other when times are tough and never miss the opportunity to celebrate the good every single time you can.
Within your organization are teams switched up every once in a while or do they maintain the same? What are some of the benefits and cons of that?
Professional development is something our company encourages, so people definitely move around from one role to another. We’ve had cruise managers switch roles to sales managers, servers work their way up to cruise managers, and reservations coordinators become event coordinators. It is definitely a benefit of working at an organization that encourages mobility if an employee demonstrates the interest and aptitude.
What does the word collaboration mean to you?
Collaboration requires understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Everybody has a different role to play on the team, from accounting to event coordination and culinary, to captains and marine engineers; we all contribute toward the same goal with our own skills. The goal is always to provide the best possible cruise experience for our guests.
What has been you and your team’s favourite project/campaign/initiative to work on and why?
Consistently delivering positive guest experiences is our favourite initiative to work on – nothing gives us more satisfaction. We take our customer feedback very seriously, and never stop trying to improve our level of customer service. When our guests recognize our daily efforts in something as simple as a review online or with a referral, that’s gratification at the highest level. That’s our ultimate reward as a team.
Where is your team’s favorite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
We have the unusual advantage of having boats at our disposal and an office by the lake. We’re big fans of Toronto Island, and always look forward to our annual company picnic, when the whole team sets sail for a BBQ on the island.
Do you and you team go out together? Where and why?
Definitely. We go to dinner, concerts, trivia nights, and sporting events. Some like to play rounds of baseball together on the island or head over to the beach. Our company encourages team outings and also supports smaller groups to enjoy each other’s company.
What’s the best thing that has happened to you and your team recently?
Our amazing season so far! The summer weather has been phenomenal, and for the first time in three years our business hasn’t been hampered by construction along Queen’s Quay. The best thing that has happened for all of us here is that tourism is booming by the city’s beautiful waterfront.
Are there any teams within your company or any company that you know of that are killing it?
We are a team of many teams, but special credit this season has to go to the crew who work on our vessels. From our culinary staff to our operations team, cruise managers, harbour tour and hospitality staff, to our captains and engineers, they’ve seriously exceeded expectations this summer – all in record-breaking hot temperatures too.
And finally, what does success look like to you and your team? Work, play or otherwise.
Staying motivated, working hard as team to get through challenges, and seeing our efforts recognized through happy customers — that’s success. That gives us reason to work, play, and celebrate a successful 29 years on the waterfront.