Corethree CEO Ashley Murdoch highlights how mobile ticketing can help improve ferry lines’ business models (Image: Corethree)
Today’s traveller is well aware of the multitude of benefits that come with using mobile apps to book and pay for ferry crossings. With millions of people choosing this method of payment over the past five years, it’s clear that consumers prefer to use this infinitely more convenient way of purchasing a ticket. Hundreds of businesses from retailers, to stadium owners, to bus operators have already embraced the mobile payment innovation and now, widely recognised ferry operators are beginning to follow suit and take their place in the mobile age.
The choice of technology at the fingertips of savvy passengers is abundant, and ferry operators must look to integrate with mobile payment solutions that provide their customer base with a fresh, relevant and personalised booking system to stay in step with their competitors.
It’s debatable as to whether or not the one-size-fits-all marketing strategy implemented by so many businesses over the past few decades has ever worked efficiently, but today it’s clear that it’s simply outdated. By using a mobile app system, ferry operators open up a customised and instantaneous channel of communication with their customers, enabling real-time updates about ferry delays, weather disruptions or rough seas. Ferry companies can even tailor bespoke offers to fit the needs of individual consumers in line with the data generated through a smart device.
Previously reliant on complicated websites, call centres or face-to-face kiosks, operators now have a direct channel that not only allows them to instantly communicate with their customers in a more bespoke way, but also enables them to glean valuable intelligence into their own consumer base. These crucial data patterns allow ferry operators to plan future sales packages or marketing campaigns like never before, giving vital insights that can be used in a constructive way to monitor travel habits, customise offers or rewards, and allow ferry operators to align themselves seamlessly with their passengers. Meanwhile, in the eyes of the consumer, the ferry operator shifts position from being solely a journey provider to a functional hub of up-to-date travel information.
Ferry passengers are growing increasingly aware of the multitude of perks offered by mobile ticketing, however the benefits are not exclusively limited to the consumer. Ferry and maritime operators who embrace these new technologies are also seeing significant improvements across the entire business model.
Carefully crafted interactions create a positive and personalised relationship between ferry operators and their passengers. By using them-ticketing apps model as a sales channel, the experience goes beyond the booking and payment process and opens up opportunities to improve customer care, both before and during the journey.
Before their journey, passengers can receive notifications on how long it is until their ferry departs, along with navigation to the port and information about onboard services. Mobile apps have the capabilities to then up-sell access to additional facilities during the journey such as VIP lounges, or to enable passengers to book cinema tickets and restaurant tables, or be guided around the vessel.
Embracing mobile technology and the process of m-ticketing is a cornerstone for ferry operators looking to take the leap to advance their business technology and provide reliable, refined tools that promote speed, efficiency and most importantly, passenger satisfaction.
The population nowadays is growing in digitisation and the concept of a completely cashless consumer market is quickly becoming the norm, with mobile wallets and contactless payments quickly evolving into society’s paradigm of payment transactions. It is simply unquestionable that with this digital shift, the concept of a tangible, paper ticket is fast-becoming a relic of the past, and there is no denying that ferry operators must adapt to this and harness the vast amounts of data produced from these available means to stay ahead of the competition.
At Corethree, we have seen an exponential growth of m-tickets issued in the past year alone and evidently, the ease and speed of a mobile booking system is frequently the preferred method of payment among travellers. In light of this major increase, it is now more important than ever that ferry operators embrace these new technologies and the invaluable data generated from m-ticketing, or they remain at risk of falling behind their competitors.
Ashley Murdoch is CEO of Corethree