Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview and Interviewed with Sixth Star

As many of you know I was in Florida last week to catch the ship Celebrity Eclipse for a cruise and to speak aboard ship. Sometimes I don’t know whether to say I was speaking, doing a presentation, a show or wrap it all together into edutainment.  I did receive some wonderful feedback from Maria, the Activity Director on board.  I’m unique, out of the box! Those of you who know me  might say, “oh, she’s different alright” J  She would love to have me book several back to back runs.  What a nice complement!

But on to Sixth Star.  Our ship left port on Saturday, January 14th. To catch a ship back east, you have to fly in the day before due to the time changes, which would put the date for flying on Friday the 13th. My dear husband does have a bit of superstition in him, no flying on Friday the 13th.  So we flew in on Thursday. We had a free day Friday so I made arrangements to meet with Sixth Star for information on their company.  They in turn were interested in me as a speaker.

I met with Doug Jones, president of Sixth Star Entertainment and Marketing.  Doug is a high energy, inspirational guy. You can definitely feel his edutainment, entertaining type of back ground.  He started out in the late 1970’s in the industry with the Royal Viking line. He then worked his way up through the cruise industry in various positions, but always in the sector of entertainment aboard ships. This guy knows the “in’s and out’s” aspects of the entertainment end of cruise lines.  This background gave him the ability to be the first to set up a company that would provide speakers aboard ships. He has been so successful in this endeavor that he now is doing events on land for clients in the corporate or private sector who wants quality entertainment or props, e.g., conferences, trade shows or private parties.
There are about six-or-so booking agencies for speakers on cruise ships, I asked Doug what he thought made Sixth Star distinctive, different, stand out from the others.   
Ø  Sheer Volume Bookings– They do about 90% of the bookings on several cruise lines. This sheer volume has forced them to fine tune their bookings and communication process between them, the cruise lines and those they place on the ships, which has promoted a working relationship that all enjoy.
Ø  Sheer Volume People – Their data bank of Bridge Directors, Ballroom Dance Instructors, Destination & Special Interest Speakers, Distinguished Gents, Arts and Crafts Instructors and Specialty Artists (Face Painters, Balloon Twisters, Silhouette Artist, etc.) has allowed them to match people with ships needs. They have had very few to no complaints about the speakers they recommend to go aboard. Doug could not even remember the last time they had a complaint.
Ø  Vetting Process – this seemed to be a stellar component to his company. His group finds qualified people and works with them to be successful. The dialog between the Sixth Star  staff and a prospective speaker/person is to tweak their skills for ships. This dialog seems to be a main ingredient of success for Sixth Star and the person being placed.
Ø  Instruction Manual and Port Information Sheet – He spent considerable time and energy to answer many questions ahead of time in the Instruction Manual. Port Information Sheet, even speakers from other agencies will look at his Port  Information sheet to answer their questions about port, i.e., how far from airport to ship, address of port, different ways to get to port.
Doug did state they are always looking for persons who can do the enrichment speakers series. Destination speakers are always in high demand. He compared his company to a casting agency for cable TV, as you know cable TV broadcast shows that several years ago would never have been accepted by the major TV stations. Now people demand cable as much as they demand the major TV stations. Sixth Star is always looking for people who can speak to the interest of the people as much as the cable TV looks for that niche of people.  Who would have thought food or crime investigation would have such a devout group of followers.

I asked Doug what was the number one attribute they looked for. He had one word, actually he had two words. The number one thing is ADAPTABLE, not only in tweaking your skills for the cruise lines, but sometimes you need to roll with the punches aboard ship and be a team player. His other word, don’t let the word Prickly end up in your data base.

If you think you might like to work with Sixth Star, the first step is to fill out an application.  If they feel you have some skills they can work with the dialog will start.
As I left Sixth Star the logo and theme for Allstate Insurance came to mind “you’re in good hands with Sixth Star”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, really enjoyed what you wrote and the honesty behind it.