Sea Chefs
Sea Chefs

Strategic partnership achieves cost savings with Sea Chefs


Sea Chefs


Hotel and Restaurant Management, Maritime

Approved nikos gazelidis
Nikos Gazelidis

Commercial Director, Marine


The Background

Sea Chefs is a market leader in hotel and restaurant management for ship owners and sea travel operators. Global services include management of high-end river and ocean cruises, such as selecting specialist crew, catering for holidaymakers and equipment supplies.

Founded in 1999, the Sea Chefs managed fleet has grown to include 40 vessels, operated by over 6,000 qualified cruise members and more than 100 on-shore staff based at offices in Germany, Switzerland and Cyprus.

The Challenge

ATPI Marine Travel‘s partnership with Sea Chefs began in 2009 – initially as one of several TMCs working with the company. Sea Chefs objectives were two-fold: to reduce the cost of crew travel to and from vessels at specific times, and to streamline booking processes.

As per the nature of the shipping industry, Sea Chefs travel requirements often involved the movement of large groups during popular holiday seasons, frequent traveller name changes and additional arrangements for items such as large musical instruments.

The Solution

As the relationship developed between the two companies, it became more apparent to the ATPI Marine & Energy team that there were several areas in Sea Chef’s travel programme that could benefit from improvement and deliver savings.

In order to present recommendations to Sea Chefs, ATPI Marine & Energy undertook a thorough audit of their travel over a period of months, including: historical travel patterns, key travel routes, seasonal influences, airline availability and also feedback from key stakeholders.

Based on this analysis, areas for improvement were highlighted, with findings and recommendations presented to Sea Chefs’ board of directors.

One key area of improvement was to encourage the booking of smaller groups of crew, rather than larger groups, as airlines allocate a certain number of specialist marine fares for each flight.

This would also avoid unnecessary airfare increased imposed by airlines on higher seat classes and in popular holiday seasons. Additional recommendations included the provision of ‘red port / green port’ consultancy, which identified a ‘red port’ as a high cost destination versus a more cost effective ‘green port’.

This meant that any crew changes were planned in green ports, rather than those with hidden costs (for example local taxes in Latin America).

Flexibility on departure and arrival times (especially for short-haul flights within Europe) would also deliver cost efficiencies, as would opportunities provided by last-minute ticket availability.

To improve and streamline booking processes, Sea Chefs and ATPI

agreed various guidelines. These included ensuring all necessary travel and passenger information was provided at the initial booking stage and also rules around correspondence, for example ensuring the right people were informed of bookings and using email history to reduce errors or double bookings.

The Result

Following the implementation of ATPI Marine & Energy’s recommendations, the following results were achieved during 2013:

  • An 8% saving on total average travel spend (per passenger, year-on-year) – based on more flexible departure and arrival times, which allowed for a wider choice of routes and airlines.
  • 70% of all airline tickets were issued in the most cost efficient classes. A significant achievement during peak times and holiday seasons where there is frequently limited seat availability (e.g. South America) or economical influences such as airline bankruptcies,
    which added to the already limited seat shortage on certain routes.
  • The average air fare (per crew member) decreased by 9% despite inflation, airline taxes and air fare increases during 2013.
  • Savings were also achieved through ATPI Marine & Energy’s innovative technology which continues to check the booking made vs. the lowest available air fare right up to ticket issue.

As a testament to the results achieved, Sea Chefs consolidated all business travel with ATPI Marine & Energy in October 2013 – including travel associated with the German and Swiss offices, where the on-site employees are based. Strongly contributing to the above success was the strategic relationship. Together the two organisations worked to analyse areas of improvement and implement recommendations which contributed to a more cost-effective, efficient travel programme.

Learn more about ATPI’s sector-specific offering for the cruising industry