How to improve the guest experience, according to Dietmar Wertanzl

Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management is striving to deliver constant improvements for its passengers 

How to improve the guest experience, according to Dietmar Wertanzl

By Alex Smith |

Ship management company Anglo-Eastern completed the acquisition of Cruise Management International (CMI) and CMI Leisure Management (CMILM) in March 2023, rebranding the two arms of the business as Anglo-Eastern Cruise Management and Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management. The move marked Anglo-Eastern’s first foray into the travel and tourism sector after almost five decades of managing merchant vessels, and signalled a new beginning for the employees of CMI.  

One of the people at the heart of the transition is Dietmar Wertanzl, president and CEO of CMILM, who has continued in the same positions at Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management. 

“The acquisition has gone very smoothly overall,” says Wertanzl. “As with any acquisition, it’s a long process, and there’s still some final work to do in aligning systems and processes. But I think we’re now in a position where we can fully take advantage of the know-how and resources of our parent company.” 

Though Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management is now part of a larger company, it remains an independent and separate unit. According to Wertanzl, this allows the business to remain agile and apply its expertise in the cruise sector to improve the quality of its service while retaining the support of the wider Anglo-Eastern group. 

“From a wider corporate perspective, the focus is on risk management, and it’s absolutely a priority to maintain safety standards first and foremost,” says Wertanzl. “But the difference in the experience for the guest is still the quality of the service. In the cruise division, we’re empowered to focus on providing that level of excellence and passion for the work. As experts in cruise hospitality, we know what tools are needed to make the guest and crew experience better. We’ve been able to use a bigger toolbox from Anglo-Eastern to continue doing what we do best.” 


Anglo Eastern Leisure Management

Maintaining and improving the quality of the onboard experience is essential for Anglo-Eastern, says Dietmar Wertanzl

However, matching the expectations of guests can still be a difficult task, especially when providing service to repeat cruisers. A second, third or fourth cruise needs to recapture, and if possible surpass, the happy experience the guest had on their first voyage to deliver the same level of satisfaction. This requires good management, says Wertanzl. 

“The second time somebody cruises, they know what to expect,” he explains. “That’s why it’s important that we both maintain our offering and also keep reaching to enhance the experience, because once you stop trying to improve, standards can slip. That means retaining your key leaders onboard the ship. Middle management teams are key, because they’re the ones supervising and coaching crew every day.” 

Wertanzl explains that it is important to provide the crew with the proper support as they strive to deliver the best possible service to guests. “If a cruise was a movie production, the people serving the guests would be the performers,” says Wertanzl. “The crew are the stars, but they need to have the right script and the tools to be able to perform well, and they need to be told when they’re doing a good job and helped when something isn’t quite right. It’s important they have the right attitude, but it’s up to us to train them to meet service delivery expectations.” 


Anglo Eastern Leisure Management

Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management provides hospitality onboard nine ships, including Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer

As it looks towards the future, Anglo-Eastern Leisure Management and its sister company Anglo-Eastern Cruise Management aim to build on their reputation as a ship operator within the cruise industry. 

“The company has a fabulous reputation already in its core business, and we’re trying to bring that same reputation into the cruise sector,” says Wertanzl. “By demonstrating what we can do in this area, we want to establish the Anglo-Eastern brand in the industry, which will help us to grow and sustain our business in the long term.” 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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