[{{ $ctrl._job.status.name | translate}}] Director Product Development
Viking Cruises

Posted

Job description

PURPOSE OF POSITION

The Director Product Development will form an integral part of the company’s senior management team and will have significant exposure to key decision-makers within the firm. The position is an important strategic function within the organization, responsible for defining, directing and managing the product development and itinerary strategy as well as successfully liaising with relevant internal and external business partners and stakeholders.
S/he will hold departmental responsibility covering the existing fleet of ocean cruise liners, as well as all vessels that are currently in the development pipeline, and assume a leadership role spearheading a team at the corporate head office. The success matrix for the Director Product Development will include aspects related to (I) product development, (II) itinerary and contingency planning, (III) contracting and purchasing as well as (IV) quality control and (V) team management. Another success matrix includes successful change management from an organizational point of view.
Although the Director Product Development will be taking over knowledgeable and skilled staff, s/he will be asked to put in place a strategic road map that helps guide and direct the department and improve operational effectiveness and accountability.
The Director Product Development will report to the Vice President, Group Product Development. The position will be based at our Head Office in Basel, Switzerland. It is, thus, required for the person to hold a valid working permit. At times, the individual will be required to travel extensively.

RESPONSIBILITIES

I. Product Development
• Continuously fine-tuning and extending, from ideation through to contract negotiations, the product offering – covering shore excursions, tours, ground transportation and all other land-based activities.
• (Further) developing and enhancing the internal processes, enabling efficient and expedient product launches and new itineraries.
• Closely liaising with vendors and internal departments, implementing customer feedback into future programs for continued product development.
• Closely liaising with the commercial, sales and marketing and branding teams, providing input in regards to product positioning and developing new concepts and ideas that help the brand and company to continue playing in the “major league.”
• Closely liaising with key decision-makers within the organization, strategically working on “future-proofing” land-based operations by seeking out innovative new partners, creative programs and concept ideas, worldwide.

II. Itinerary and Contingency Planning
• Continuously monitoring, fine-tuning and developing the contingency planning – enabling quick implementation and hassle-free plans.
• Coordinating with ship- and land-/port-based operations when putting in place alternative programs or implementing other deviations into the schedule, disseminating relevant information where needed and prioritizing safety and security of customers and staff above all else.
• Establishing clear lines of communication and accountability within the team and when liaising with other internal or external parties, ensuring accuracy and a clear understanding of the Who, Where, When, What and How or Why.

III. Contracting and Purchasing
• Handling all existing third-party vendor agreements, with an emphasis on establishing fruitful and long-lasting partnerships and negotiating with a view to create win-win scenarios aimed at maximizing sales and profitability without compromising on quality, service and safety standards.
• Continuously evaluating performance of existing vendors and seeking out new local / regional partners.
• Continuously educating oneself on new developments in the travel and tourism industry and identifying potential suppliers that help the firm stand out based on product diversity, originality and reliability as well as quality and price.

IV. Quality Control
• (Further) developing and enhancing product and service standards.
• (Further) developing and implementing systems and operating processes aimed at securing adherence to standards and problem avoidance.
• Regularly conducting quality audits, providing feedback and taking corrective actions if and where needed.

V. Team Management
• Hiring, training, motivating and developing departmental staff and team members.
• Closely liaising with Human Resources and other key internal stakeholders, conducting regular performance reviews, providing feedback and putting in place necessary / appropriate action plans to continue building the internal talent pipeline.

Requirements

The desired candidate is likely to possess a bachelor’s degree or equivalent-level qualification – an education at the master’s level or above would help the candidate to stand out.
Furthermore, s/he will have a strong background in, and a deep understanding of, the cruise industry and will possess a proven track record in a comparable function within a reputable organization. Expertise and know-how in product development and contracting is a must, as is an understanding for global business operations within a customer- and service-lead industry.
An established contact network with relevant business partners as well as expert knowledge of key destinations is equally important. Prior experience might also include senior (corporate) leadership roles within the hotel, hospitality and / or tour operating business.

The successful candidate will have highly developed analytical and financial skills as well as proven negotiating tactics and excellent organizational/project management skills. This is someone who will be able to look at the bigger picture to define strategies, to then dive into the details and execute and follow-up on the steps that help reach the goal.

The right individual will have strong sales experience, be marketing savvy and be highly adept at establishing and maintaining a high profile as well as high levels of respect and credibility within the marketplace. This person will be extremely relationship-oriented and be successful at nurturing long-term relationships that yield rewards. General management, leadership and business development acumen are principal characteristics.

This individual will furthermore be able to demonstrate a successful track record of developing a new product offering or service line – s/he will, thus, have the experience to set up and manage new organizational infrastructures and the ability to operate in a highly dynamic, rapidly changing environment.
Being proactive, self-motivated and forward-thinking is important as is the ability to multitask, lead teams, foresee potential pitfalls or problems and rapidly take corrective actions if and when needed. A good self-esteem, decisiveness and an entrepreneurial mind-set, as well as the ability to work autonomously, therefore complement the picture. This person will furthermore recognize the value of team alignment and communication.
The desired candidate will therefore bring on board strong emotional intelligence, excellent communication and relationship management skills up and down the organizational chart as well as an astute cultural awareness and adaptability. Working under pressure whilst maintaining a calm demeanor and keeping a customer-centric mind-set should come natural to this person.

Overall, this person should possess a ‘can-do’ attitude and be a creative problem solver and implementer of ideas. English is a prerequisite; other European languages are an advantage.
Job type
Full-time
Location
Basel, Switzerland
Department
Management, Sales & Marketing
Languages
English
Starting in
As soon as possible
Attachment
Director Product Development.pdf

Viking Cruises

HISTORY
Viking Cruises was founded by Chairman Torstein Hagen in 1997. The company established headquarters in Los Angeles, California in 2000 and through rapid expansion has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years.

With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides travel experiences for guests with an interest in geography, culture and history. Each journey includes daily shore excursions, and an exclusive Culture Curriculum program that provides destination immersion through music performances, cooking demonstrations, informative port talks and guest lecturers.

RIVER CRUISES
Viking River Cruises award-winning Longships offer a variety of stateroom categories and true two-room suites with verandas. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar & lounge, library and expansive sun deck. Itineraries range from 8 to 23 days and feature the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia.

OCEAN CRUISES
In 2015, Viking introduced its first award-winning ocean ship with the 930-guest Viking Star. Sister ship Viking Sea joined the fleet in 2016, along with Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017. By 2028 Viking will have a fleet of sixteen ocean ships, making it the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Each ship boasts a veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge, and more. Itineraries range from 8 to 141 days and feature destinations such as Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the British Isles, and the Caribbean.

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