Ferry Fortunes in 2017 and beyond

Once again Pharos Data has analysed ferry and travel sales data to show market trends and predictions. During 2017-2019 three trends will be shape our industry:

  1. The traveller’s journey doesn’t end at the ticket purchase
  2. Mobile will account for more than 40% of online revenue in 2 years time
  3. Ancillary revenue, 10 years ago a €1.9 billion market, is now a €63 billion market


1 The traveller’s journey doesn’t end at the ticket purchase.

Priceline may have been among the first to prove that travellers don’t just need the transportation ticket to a destination. They also need accommodation, things to do while they are there, dinner reservations, ground transportation – so they built this empire consisting of for hotel reservations, Opentable for dinner reservations, for ground transportation etc.

In December of 2016 Ryanair announced their entry into the packaged tours market: You can now book flights + 1 week’s accommodation in Sicily for €201 during April 2017, including transfers. The trend is: The first point of contact wants to keep the client and benefit from the entire journey.

Conclusion: If you are the first point of contact, keep the customer in your own eco-system. At the same time, make sure other first points of contacts are technically and commercially capable of selling your services on top of theirs!


2 Mobile will account for more than 40% of online revenue in 2019

Euromonitor International has breaking news for all of you, especially if your customer base includes Sweden, Denmark and Greece: Blame it on a combination of thinly spread population combined with rugged landscape, but the research experts in Euromonitor predict that in only two years 47% of all Swedish, 44% of all Danish and 41% of all Greek online travel revenue will be generated via the mobile channel.

Conclusion: Be it directly via your own website, or that of a large travel agency – make sure your distribution channels are optimised for mobile – or be prepared to lose revenue to your competitors and other means of transportation!

3 Ancillary Revenue is now a market worth €63 billion.

Ten years ago this was a €1.9 billion market, in 2010 it was worth €20.7 billion. Most ferry operators know very well the value of meal sales, cabin upgrade sales etc.

But airlines have mastered ancillary sales : Passengers are charged extra for seat reservation, checked luggage, credit card payments, lounge access or on-board Wi-Fi as well as the sale of third-party travel products such as accommodation and ground transportation.

Conclusion: Some ferry routes are an excellent travel ancillary product for airline and accommodation booking services, e.g. ferry routes connecting two large and exciting cities – or an exciting island with a larger city for a weekend break. At the same time ferry operators could become even more creative in selling their own on-board ancillaries – they all can be booked and paid for along with your ticket sales via the Pharos ferry distribution system.

So there we have it: Not only are these the 3 top industry-shaping trends for the period 2017 to 2019 – they are also not stand-alone, they are interdependent, they come as a bundle – no matter if your business is ready for them or not.