Pamela Conover, the CEO of The World, the only private residential ship on a permanent circumnavigation of the globe, talks sleep, the importance of teamwork, and emergency chocolate
The World is the only ship which has private residences and travels year-round. There are 165 apartments and we’re responsible for planning and orchestrating the global itinerary and providing the highly customised service that residents expect onboard.
My best ideas come when I’m aboard the ship. Being in the environment where we are delivering the experience, being part of it and living it puts us all in the right frame of mind.
The World’s residents are fascinating people. They have something called the Plato Society where they’ll pick a topic such as the fall of the Roman Empire and they will research and do a presentation on it. They’re interested in the intellectual stimulation and discourse of travel.
Global luxury travel is always evolving. People are always looking for something new and different and we’re always trying to stay ahead of that demand curve. We have expeditions coming up in Borneo, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, and we’re finalising the 2018 itinerary.
Our residents are our best sounding board. If we have an idea we’ll do a focus group or we’ll talk to individual residents to see what they think and get their feedback. We don’t want to introduce something that makes them ask: ‘why did you do that?’
I go to the mountains of North Carolina to escape. When I’m aboard The World I’m not escaping, I’m working. I’m based in Florida where it’s very flat and tropical, so I go to the mountains where we have several acres and where my dog is. She’s an Alsatian, and I take off on hikes with her and clear my brain.
My brain food is lots of greens and my emergency bar of chocolate. I exercise early in the morning and I eat kale salads and healthy foods but when the going gets tough I always have a bar of 70 per cent dark chocolate in my bag.
My inspiration is my father. He was a successful businessman and his integrity and honesty inspired me. He was a very dynamic individual and always taught me to be fair and maintain my integrity.
You can take the girl out of Britain but you can’t take Britain out of the girl. I moved to the States in 1979 but I’ve not quite shaken off my British roots, as I always have to have my afternoon cup of tea.
Having the right team is critical for me. I like the book Good to Great [by Jim Collins] and one of the things that stuck with me is that you’ve got to get the right people on board. I’ve found that if you have the right team you can achieve great things.
I work all the time. Sometimes my team will say to me: ‘Oh my gosh, give it a rest! I’m not going to reply to you because it’s Sunday!’
But I’m a great believer in sleep. My days of trying to function with not enough sleep are over, and I’m much more productive after at least seven hours’ sleep.
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