Ferry operators understand value in enhancing the passenger experience. Digitalization can expedite customer loyalty;ensure ferry travel is a preferred mode of transport; minimise customer dissatisfaction and in turn lower the cost needed to remedy those complaints.
Then there is the potential for revenue generation via ancillary services offered to passengers. This covers everything from streamlining the booking process – offering more than just the ferry journey – accommodation, destination services, upgrades, retail and much, much more.
Monetizing the passenger experience is the ultimate goal.
Passenger expectations have changed rapidly. These digitally-savvy passengers want always-on connectivity and everything that is associated with that. In turn, operators are looking to innovate and improve expectations on price, sustainability, Wi-Fi, food, onboard shopping, accommodation, booking, check-in and other aspects of the journey.
Operators understand the value of ensuring a seamless customer journey from booking the original crossing to the journey home. Using customer data better is also a goal as operators look to personalise the passenger experience.
Onboard connectivity is now seen as a valued strategic point of differentiation. Customer satisfaction and retention is a clear benefit from meeting passenger expectations. The halo effect of consistent, reliable, high quality connectivity can even balance out reputational threats caused by bad weather or a ship’s technical issues.
Connectivity is also highlighted as supporting crew welfare – with a happier crew, more in touch with home, delivering a better customer experience for passengers.
Despite operators recognizing the value of connectivity, the vast majority of ferries lack systems that are commonplace in rail and aviation - such as platforms that provide a one-stop shop of digital solutions, including entertainment, travel information and marketing content.
There is a clear appreciation among interviewees that digitalization opens up more ways to monetise a captive audience.Alongside some more obvious ways to boost ancillary revenue – from charging for Wi-Fi to supporting and enabling card payments – there are also some opportunities that are, at present, undervalued. It’s apparent that there are some innovative ways to realize this value. Consider the case for revenue acceleration based on the Aviation industry. Some airline passengers now place Wi-Fi access as more important than inflight meals or entertainment when choosing an airline.