Here's what I'm doing: Staying spirited

Dan Yates, president of Spirit Cruises in Portland, Ore.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: What are you doing? That's a question we've been asking on all the Marketplace shows. We're hoping to get a sense of how people adapt in a down economy. Today we step onto the gangplank in Portland, Oregon. There, we found an ex-Navy man who runs a tour boat company.

What's he doing? Looking for a little Christmas spirit.


DAN YATES: I'm Dan Yates, president of Portland Spirit Cruises in Portland, Oregon.

We cruise a tremendous amount of the Columbia and the Willamette River. So, over the course of a year we'll do about 2,000 cruises.

December's a very large month for us with corporate Christmas parties. When they have a good year they do something extravagant. When they have a so-so year they do something less extravagant. And this has not been, "We're looking for a cheaper alternative." This is, "We are not going to do anything. We cannot do this." Just sheer panic.

And I thought it would stop after November 1st, this cancellation mania, because we have our final contracts for the holiday season are due November 1st. But it's carried on even through to yesterday. We had a large party that just kind of woke up and realized that they have a big event coming up in December and they don't feel comfortable doing it.

We've gone from being 2-3-4 percent ahead, and as of yesterday we're about 20-plus percent behind. We're having our holiday party in about 10 days and it's probably going to be one of our biggest ones we've had because I don't believe in cutting back on that. And I think it's pretty short-sighted to miss an opportunity for a president of a company to say thank you to your employees. You can't tell your employees thank you enough.

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