Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A, attended the 26th edition of the Young Leaders Conference of the Council for the United States and Italy (www.consiusa.org) yesterday.
Themed the networked society, the event focused on technological innovation and its impact on business, government and social relations.
Taking place for the first time in Genoa, Foschi explained how technological innovation has contributed to maintain and reinforce Costa Cruises’ leadership. The Italian Company has experienced truly remarkable growth over the last 10 years with the number of guests increasing from 363,000 in 2000, to 1.8 million in 2009, and forecasts of 2.1 million this year.
Taking place in the Covered Square of the new Palazzo Costa, the Company “zero C02 impact” headquarters in Piazza Piccapietra inaugurated in June this year, a select group of 50 talented people under the age of 40 from a number of countries (including Italy, USA, China, Brazil, India, Russia, Korea and South Africa) were brought together. The 50 that attended have already distinguished themselves in various careers.
Foschi explained how the use of mobile technology and broadband has made it possible to have real-time monitoring of business performance and to set up communication networks and the virtualization of the training activities for Costa Cruises.
Costa has always been at the forefront in providing cutting-edge hi-tech innovations on board its ships from the Grand Prix driving simulators and golf simulators, to the 4D cinema, recording studio and PlayStation World. As well as entertainment, Costa Cruises is also at the forefront of technology with its other services and facilities such as the new self-service system for credit card registration, touch screen kiosks enabling guests to book shore excursions, spa treatments and a range of other amenities including 24/7, as well as the fleetwide Wi-Fi service.
Costa’s innovation has also meant improved environmental protection which is reflected by the B.E.S.T.4 – an integrated system of four different types of certification including ISO 4001 – as well as RINA’s Green Star, numerous measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions, and experimentation – thanks to Costa’s partnership with W.W.F. Italia – with the new REPCET reporting system aimed at avoiding collisions between ships and whales.
Innovation in Costa also involves ways of communicating with its customers and the sales network such as social media marketing, mini-sites for mobile media, applications for smartphones, a website in 16 languages where consumers can book and personalise cruises (with reservation of all the main shipboard services) and a B2B website in seven languages for travel agents.
Innovation is so important for Costa Cruises that it has set up a dedicated programme called G.U.E.S.T., whereby all 19,000 employees can suggest ideas on how to improve company processes and products.
Pier Luigi Foschi is a member of the Council for the United States and Italy, which was established in 1983 in order to foster closer ties between the two countries, by means of high-level initiatives with a focus on economy and finance; the Italian branch is currently co-chaired by Sergio Marchionne.
The 500-plus Young Leaders Programme alumni include the current President of Mexico, the Chairman & CEO of Philip Morris International, the Italian member of the Executive Board of the Central European Bank, the former US Ambassador to NATO and the editors of La Stampa and Il Sole 24 Ore, to name but a few.