No, not the Star Trek continuum character. The letter. One of the people I have come to respect the most in the travel industry is Royal Caribbean’s Vicki Freed, Senior VP of Sales (and other things…her actual title is too long for me to remember). The picture on this post is with Janet and Vicki who graciously gave us a good chunk of her time during an event in 2018. Vicki is one of the reasons Janet and I so love selling the brand. Sure, a Royal Caribbean cruise isn’t for everyone, which is why it is important for you to use a travel advisor to match you with the brand that best meets your needs. But if you are looking for a family friendly cruise line, you can’t go wrong with Royal. We have sailed with them for 25 years.
Vicki called me personally back in 2020 after I sent her an e-mail with feedback on another matter. In our conversation we chatted about a presentation she gave at a conference I attended, a presentation she titled The Q. Vicki explained that the letter Q is a unique and rarely used letter....a 10 pointer in Scrabble and that's without the double or triple bonuses. The letter “O” is almost identical but much more commonly used. As Vicki explained, what differentiates “The Q” and makes it so much more valuable from the common letter "O” is a squiggle. Just one small difference, but it MAKES the difference, and that was the point of Vicki's presentation. Using The Q.
Vicki's call to me was one of the ways she uses The Q. Doing the small things that show you care. Nothing more complicated than that. It took just five minutes out of her day, yet her call meant the world to me. To have a senior executive from a multi-national corporation call me to thank me for my comments is The Q.
Vicki isn't the only one with Royal Caribbean using The Q. In fact we experienced it years ago on our first cruise with our kids in the form Captain Kirk. Kirk is not a ship's Captain...that's his nickname. In fact, when we first met Kirk he was a young waiter in the main dining room. We met with Kirk on the first day of the cruise to explain Rob’s milk allergy. And every day after that Kirk met with the Executive Chef to make sure he knew which dishes on the menu our son Rob could eat, which the chef could modify to adjust to Rob's milk allergy if we asked, and which to avoid. Kirk briefed us every night about the next evening’s menu so we had time to decide. He also worked with the chef to make special dishes for Rob when there wasn’t an appropriate menu substitution. Some nights it was a simple fruit cocktail, but Captain Kirk made sure it felt special to Rob. He used The Q.
We've run into Kirk several times since our first meeting on subsequent cruises. At our second encounter we were delighted to learn Kirk had been promoted to Head Waiter, and at our next meeting, to Maitre D'. On our last meeting Kirk shared with us his excitement at being transferred to Royal Caribbean's then newest ship, the cruise industry's largest, Oasis of the Seas. Throughout the years Kirk's enthusiasm never waned, and he still had The Q.
Ever since Janet and I heard Vicki’s talk we have endeavored to be The Q for our clients. I hope we have succeeded…I think we have. Vicki and Kirk certainly did for us.
(Originally published on 4 Aug 2020)