Ferry Business - Spring/Summer 2019

International Cruise & Ferry Review Ferry Business 110 INTERVIEW Transforming onboard experiences Dan Bridgett from P&O Ferries tells Jacqui Griffiths how the company’s recent agreement with Dufry contributes to a comprehensive customer experience strategy ”Our vision is to continue to transform our onboard offer, making us better than the competition in every aspect of our business” nvesting in the traveller experience is a key focus for P&O Ferries as part of its ongoing efforts to make sure passengers’ holidays begin as soon as they set foot on the ship. “It’s often said that we are transitioning from a service economy to an experience economy – one in which businesses and organisations create memorable events for their customers and where the memories become the product,” says Dan Bridgett, head of communications at P&O Ferries. “This is a very powerful idea and we see some of the most successful consumer-led businesses embracing it wholeheartedly. One of the benefits of investing in experience is that it allows brands to stretch, to become trusted to provide new products and services. “Our starting point is that we have one of the most powerful and evocative brand names in travel, certainly for British consumers. What more could it do for leisure customers? How can we use this priceless asset to make their journeys better and smarter?” One answer to those questions lies in the company’s commitment to delivering a unique and memorable customer experience for shoppers onboard its ferries. Its commitment to this aspect of the passenger experience was amply illustrated recently by the signing of a long-term concession agreement between P&O Ferries and global travel retailer Dufry. Some 19 shops onboard 15 vessels – serving the Dover-Calais, Europoort-Hull, Zeebrugge-Hull, Cairnryan-Larne and Liverpool-Dublin routes – will be transferred to Dufry between April and May. As well as operating the shops under the World Duty Free brand, the company will refurbish the stores and implement state-of-the-art shop design to provide a tailored assortment proposition for each route. Passengers onboard the vessels will be offered a distinct selection of both international and local brands across major categories such as perfume and cosmetics, spirits, food and confectionary, tobacco, fashion and accessories including sunglasses, as well as travel essentials, toys, souvenirs and gifts. “In a world which is ever more connected, where consumers place more and more value on experiences, and where trusted brands have never been more in demand, we have a unique opportunity to super-charge our tourist business,” says Bridgett. “This is the opportunity: to make the most of our assets and reimagine what we mean for our leisure customers and what we can do for them beyond the ferry.” The agreement with Dufry is the latest initiative in P&O Ferries’ comprehensive customer experience strategy, and Bridgett hints at further developments to look forward to: “Quite simply, our vision is to continue to transform our onboard offer, making us better than the competition in every aspect of our business.” C&F