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CFO route suspended to 5 April

Further to the latest update from DK government on travel restrictions, our service between Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo will now be suspended up to and including 5 April 2021. Our next possible sailing will be from 6 April 2021.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Group Passenger, says: “As the travel restrictions continues, we will extend the the lay-up period as well. The vast majority of crew members will still be sent home with pay as a benefit from the government’s aid package, which has been extended in parallel with the continued restrictions. A small group remain at work to maintain the cruise ferry until it resumes service.

We know that it is very hard for our colleagues who have been furloughed, and we look very much forward to welcoming you all back on work when we see the restrictions soften”.

Further details on the latest restrictions from the DK government will be updated here.

CFO route suspended to 28 February

Further to the latest updates from the Danish and Norwegian governments on travel restrictions, our service between Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo will now be suspended up to and including 28 February 2021.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Group Passenger, says: “We expected the restrictions to be prolonged and have calculated with the extended period of restrictions in our forecast. During the lay-up period, the vast majority of crew members are sent home with pay as a benefit from the government’s aid package, which has been extended in parallel with the continued restrictions. A small group remain at work to maintain the cruise ferry until it resumes service.
We know that it is very hard for our colleagues who have been furloughed, and we look very much forward to welcoming you all back on work when we see the restrictions soften”.

Details on the latest restrictions from the Danish government are available here and from the Norwegian government here

Denmark-Oslo route further suspended

Because of updated travel restrictions announced by the Danish government on 8 January and Norwegian restrictions from early January, Pearl Seaways was laid up and the Oslo – Frederikshavn – Copenhagen route was temporally suspended from 10 January. On 13 January, the travel restrictions were prolonged by the Danish government meaning that the suspension will last until at least the 7 February.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Group Passenger, says: “During the lay-up period, the vast majority of crew members are sent home with pay as a benefit from the government’s aid package, which has been extended in parallel with the continued restrictions. A small group remain at work to maintain the cruise ferry until it resumes service.”

The travel restrictions affect all travel in and out of Denmark, and the borders are closed to all entrants who do not have an “essential” purpose for entry. The suspension is therefore expected to last at least as long as the new restrictions apply.

Brexit: Duty Free is back

From 1 January 2021, Duty Free is back onboard our ships between the UK and the EU.

The last time we had Duty Free on our UK routes was in 1999 when it was decided that Duty Free shopping for passengers travelling between two EU countries would come to an end. Now the UK will no longer be an EU country, and Duty Free will once again be available onboard our routes Newcastle – Amsterdam, Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkirk and Newhaven – Dieppe.

Tax free shopping will be available on products in our onboard shops including perfume, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco and technology.

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of Passenger, says: “We are very pleased to be able to offer duty free shopping to our passengers travelling to or from the UK. It will make the experience of sailing with us even better – we don’t expect people to travel with the main purpose of shopping tax free, but it will contribute to an even better total travel experience.

Once the corona crisis is over, we anticipate an increase of revenues in the shops due to the tax free sale, and we look very much forward to refining this area.”

Read more about Duty Free on dfds.com

New art on Baltic ferries

BU Baltic Passenger has recently launched another art exhibition. This time compelling paper collages by local artist Donata Buivydė will decorate the six passenger ferries in the Baltics until March 2021. 

 Vilma Songailaite, Communications and Marketing Manager, is excited to look for artists and organise the semi-annual art exhibitions. She says: “It is really a win-win for all. We get to use our space to show passengers the diverse creativity in the Baltics and talented local artists like Donata get an opportunity to showcase their art. 

Her collage cycle “Experience the Horizon” invite the viewer to look at everything from a perspective and reflect on what really matters and what doesn’t matter at all. It also depicts a horizon that symbolise promiseIt is always somewhere far away and inaccessible.   

Donata Buivydė saysWhen I got an invitation from DFDS to create a special set of collages, I literally squealed out of excitement.  

amproud that for the next six months my exhibition will travel between Lithuania, Germany, Sweden and Estonia! Huge thank you to DFDS for this opportunity and trust in my creativity! 

Donata from Šilutė in Lithuania was a finalist in the national competition “ReStart 2020” and exhibited her work at the Prospect Gallery in Vilnius. You can see more of Donata’s work on www.collagelikepicasso.com or follow her on Instagram at @collage_like_picasso. Her exhibition for DFDS can be found here.

Covid-19: DFDS reduces sailings on Denmark – Norway

COVID-19: One of the two ships serving DFDS passenger routes on Copenhagen – Oslo and Frederikshavn – Oslo will be temporarily laid up due to tighter travel restrictions. Unfortunately, 20 waiters will be affected, whilst other colleagues will maintain their jobs as a result of trade union agreement, relocation to other ships, etc. 

Increasing infection rates and stricter travel restrictions have reduced further the number of passengers on DFDS passenger ferry routes on Copenhagen – Oslo and Frederikshavn – Oslo in recent weeks. 

With the worsening situation, there are simply too few passengers on board to maintain a full sailing schedule, and therefore we are unfortunately forced to reduce the service to one ship until mid-February, says Kasper Moos, VP, BU Passenger.

“This means that from 2 November, there will in principle be departures every other day from each port instead of every day. We will now inform customers about this via e-mails, social media and DFDS website. 

With the reduced sailing schedule, Pearl Seaways will be DFDS only passenger ship operating between Denmark and Norway, while Crown Seaways will be docked in Copenhagen until mid-February. 

Winning time
The laying-up of Crown Seaways will unfortunately have consequences for the number of employees on board.

It means that we have to say goodbye to 20 waiters working on Crown. It is very unfortunate as they are all colleagues who have worked hard to help ensure continued operation,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer and member of DFDS’ executive management.

“The other crew members in service functions on board are covered by an agreement on shorter turns and a pay reduction with the trade union Metal Maritime, and the ships technical operating crew can use accumulated overtime or be transferred to other ships. This means that we gain time until the start of the new year and so far can keep most of our very experienced employees, so we can quickly restart the route if the COVID-19 situation improves within a few months,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer. 

Kasper Moos adds: I am very pleased to inform that we will be able to avoid redundancies in the passenger organisation ashore. We will be busy preparing campaigns and sales activities to be ready when travel restrictions are lifted. However, it will be necessary to redistribute some tasks and functions for a period of time to use our resources in a way that makes sense. You will be informed about this in more detail.”

DFDS reacts to Hurtigruten case

Dear everyone

You may have noticed the recent news about the Covid-19 outbreak on the Norwegian Hurtigruten vessel (MS Roald Amundsen) that has caused intense focus and discussions in Norway and beyond about Covid-19 risks and measures that need to be in place when transporting people on ships.

We receive a lot of questions about this, from the press, passengers and you, our colleagues. This is a short update on what we are doing to keep our ferries safe for everyone.

New procedures and Covid-19 task force

We take this situation extremely seriously and already have a wide range of measures in place on our passenger ferries. We emphasise more cleaning, touchpoints are disinfected regularly and we have strong communication to passengers and staff about the need to use the hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing.

On ferries like ours there is plenty of space to achieve social distancing, whilst also enjoying shopping or a great meal aboard.

Unlike cruise ships, our ferries transport people for a relatively short period of time. While sailing and when the passengers leave, we have a dedicated body of cleaning staff making sure that our ferries are clean and fit for transporting our guests.

Passenger capacity is also reduced to limit the number of people on board at any one time so there is ample space to maintain social distancing.

If a case of Covid-19 should present itself on our ferries, we have clear procedures in place to handle them in a manner that protects our crew and guests so that the relevant person can be isolated and disembarked safely. We also alert the relevant authorities to ensure we handle such incidents in accordance with their recommendations.

Face masks for customers and staff

We recommend passengers wear face masks during entry to and exit from the ferries, as this is where we have seen that there is a risk of passengers not maintaining the necessary distance. In addition, on most of our routes customer-facing staff wear face masks or visors when not protected by plexiglass screens, and we will now extend this policy to our Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen route.

In light of Hurtigruten’s problems we have re-launched our COVID-19 task force, dedicated to coordinating best practice and improving our procedures, with yesterday’s decision to extend the use of face masks and visors to customer-facing staff on Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen being the first result of that work.

We all need to take this extremely seriously. I am sure that we will see further initiatives from the task force that will make our ferries even safer for our staff and passengers travelling with us. We are committed to doing everything we can to minimise the risk of the virus spreading on board.

Thank you for doing your utmost to help us provide safe transport services to passengers in these extraordinary times.

Kasper Moos

Passenger/BU Channel: DFDS adapts to Covid-19

On 29 June, DFDS announced several cost reductions measures to adapt to the new market conditions brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic. DFDS anticipated that this would in total impact about 650 colleagues across the DFDS organisation.

On 21 July, we announced that we would start a consultation process with proposals to reduce staff in the passenger offices in Ijmuiden and Newcastle. 12 colleagues from the Care Centre and Sales operations will sadly leave our Ijmuiden office.

We are currently consulting with employee representatives on the 30 positions across the passenger agency function in Newcastle that are at risk of redundancy.

In Hamburg on 4 August we announced our intentions to downsize our passenger office there and individual consultations have commenced with the 9 colleagues who are unfortunately impacted.

And today, we announced the start of a consultation process in Dover and France, outlining proposals for a reduction in staffing levels onboard the vessels operating between Dover to France and within the Dover, Calais and Dieppe sites.

A total of 79 roles on the company’s three UK ships and in its offices in Dover are affected.

A total of 142 roles on French ships on Calais-Dover, Calais port and the offices in Calais and Dieppe are affected.

Ashore in Dover, this will affect:
HR & Crewing
Operations Support (Terminal Control)
Freight Reservations and Freight Administration
Onboard Services
Technical Organisation

All colleagues impacted have been contacted by their Manager and HR to advise what the next steps in the process are.

We very much regret that it has come to this. Many colleagues have worked hard under difficult conditions to keep business running and help our customers. However, the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting drop in passenger demand across all routes have made changes to the company’s structure necessary to reduce costs and protect jobs in the future. But we will work closely with staff representatives to find measures to mitigate the impact of this situation for our affected colleagues.

Kasper Moos, VP of Short Routes & Passenger
Gemma Griffin, VP of HR & Crewing

Covid-19: Newcastle – Amsterdam route resumes service from 15 July

Princess Seaways

Following the announcements from the UK government about the lifting of quarantine restrictions and the restart of travel to many other countries, DFDS is resuming sailings between Amsterdam and Newcastle. As both ships are laid up in IJmuiden, the first departures will take place on Wednesday 15 July from IJmuiden and Thursday 16 July from Newcastle.

In addition, our English Channel services between the UK and France are available again to holidaymakers from the 10th July. The Channel routes have continued to sail throughout the Covid-19 period for freight and essential travellers only ensuring the transport of vital goods to communities both sides of the channel.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers says, “We are very pleased that we are finally able to welcome our passengers back to our routes between the UK & Continent. However, we will be running on significantly reduced capacity and reduced onboard services as part of our COVID-19 measures to ensure the safety of all staff and passengers”.

“These restrictions mean we will continue to evaluate staff and crew requirements whilst we monitor booking developments closely. Whilst some people will return to work very shortly, many of you will remain on temporary leave for a while longer and we will be in touch with all colleagues to keep them updated on next steps.

I want to express my gratitude for your continued patience and support during the many weeks this route has been suspended.”

Adapted onboard services
Services will be adapted onboard to ensure social distancing and the onboard catering offering has temporarily changed.

On the Channel services, we offered complimentary meals to essential travellers during the crisis and we are now extending that to all passengers and including it within the ticket price.

On the Amsterdam Newcastle service, all meals must be pre-booked before boarding and à la carte dining will not be available.  A reduced buffet service will be available, and all food will be served to passengers by our crew.

You can find out more about the new safety measures onboard here: https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries/rediscover-freedom/safety-measures

A new way to travel
Kasper Moos added, “I’m really looking forward to starting up the service after this extended period without a route between Amsterdam and Newcastle and welcoming holidaymakers back to our Channel routes. I am confident that together we can ensure that our passengers relax and enjoy their crossings while practising social distancing.”

Ferry Division: new BU Short Routes & Passenger

The routes Dieppe-Newhaven, Dover-Calais, Dover-Dunkirk, Copenhagen-Oslo and Amsterdam-Newcastle will along with BU Group Passenger be combined in the Ferry Division’s new BU Short Routes and Passenger that will be headed by Kasper Moos.

 

BU Group Passenger, BU Channel and the Oslo-Copenhagen route will all be gathered in a new Business unit, BU Short Routes & Passenger, which will be headed by VP Kasper Moos. This unfortunately means that VP Brian Thorsted Hansen will leave DFDS.

Since we established BU Group Passenger in 2017, everyone has been working hard to make the new business unit a success. Whilst introducing the new ways of working, our BU Group Passenger colleagues have succeeded in fulfilling many of our ambitions and proven the value of a global sales organisation

However, we have also seen some challenges that have affected sales and business in some areas, not least as regards the link between local business and the global organisation. Therefore, we need to strengthen our focus on local needs, and the close cooperation between Ships, Sales, Marketing and Yield & Revenue Management.

With this aim, we have decided to bring almost all of our passenger activities under a single management by combining BU Channel (including Amsterdam-Newcastle), Oslo-Copenhagen and BU Group Passenger into a new business unit called BU Short Routes & Passenger.

BU Short Routes & Passenger will be headed by VP Kasper Moos.

As BU Group Passenger is merged into the new Business Unit, this unfortunately means that Brian Thorsted Hansen will leave the company. Brian has done a great job under difficult circumstances, and we owe him thanks for his contribution to DFDS. I wish Brian all the best in the future.

Reporting lines

Kasper Moos will continue to report to me.

Kasper will maintain his office in Dover, and everyone currently reporting to Kasper will continue to do so. In addition, the following will as of today report to Kasper:

Kim Heiberg, Route Director, Copenhagen-Oslo
Pete Akerman, Global Marketing Director
Casper Puggaard, Global Sales & Service Director
Lucas Stefan Kragh, Yield & Revenue Management Director
Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy director and DIO
Bente Berg, Finance & HR Manager, Administration & Business Support Norway (50%)
There will be no other change of reporting lines.

BU Baltic will continue managing and operating all Baltic Sea routes using BU Short Routes and Passenger as its global sales agency.

I am confident that Kasper (43) is the right person to manage the new BU. His career started at A.P Moller-Maersk as a ships officer and continued in DFDS where he has long proven his management skills, first as a Crewing Manager, then VP and Head of Technical Organisation and most recently as Head of BU Channel. This has prepared him in the best possible way for his new challenging task as Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

I very much look forward to working with Kasper on growing our passenger business, and I know that every one of you will do everything in your power to support him.

Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of Ferry Division

 

As BU Group Passenger is now part of BU Short Routes and Passenger, Brian Thorsted Hansen will leave DFDS.

Ferry Division’s new BU Short Routes and Passenger will be headed by Kasper Moos.

DFDS as a Tour Operator – successful test of new concept

Project Manager, Lee Christensen (left) and Björn Hauksson, Product Administrator (right) with colleagues from the Norwegian Contact Centre celebrating the Proof of Concept going live

In a very important passenger project, DFDS has been testing a new concept for DFDS as a tour operator. And as the test was successful and proved that the new concept works, it moved out of its test phase. This happened on 10 May, when the Steering committee of Peder Gellert, Gert Møller, Sophie-Kim Chapman, Brian Hansen, Peter Akerman and Declan Walsh approved new investment in automating Finance related business processes so that use of the new DFDS Tour Operator platform can continue.

“During the test period, we sold City Breaks to Copenhagen on our Norwegian website using an off-the-shelf platform supplied by VisitGroup. Starting on 28 March, it ran over the course of six weeks, and although there have been some issues, performance exceeded our expectations. In addition, the average Seafare for these City Breaks is higher than for Minicruises, and when commission for hotels is included, these bookings generate 55% more sales than Minicruises. Therefore, the average basket size is considerably higher than for Minicruises,” says Lisa Chenery.

It also allows better campaign planning as bookings are made 14 days before the journey, compared to 7 days for Minicruises.

“When the business case for this was originally presented I thought the numbers looked very ambitious, but I am very pleased to see that Declan and his team are generating the sort of value that they believed would be possible. They have worked very hard to make this happen, encountering and overcoming obstacles along the way, so I am very proud to see this success happening in Passenger. It shows that when our people are tasked with solving the right problems innovative and value adding solutions emerge. I am very thankful to the team for their energy and commitment so far, and I am very excited to see what the next steps with this will bring for DFDS” says Peder Gellert EVP for Ferry.

“The core team of Lisa Chenery (Product Manager), Björn Hauksson (Product Administrator) and Lee Christensen (Project Manager), collaborating with colleagues from Marketing, Yield & Revenue Management, Sales, Contact Centre, Digital, Finance, Procurement, Legal & IT, have done an amazing job in getting the Proof of Concept live on our website, and executing this Proof of Concept” says Declan Walsh.
“Colleagues in Finance deserve special mention here, as several Finance tasks resulted in extra effort from our finance teams. Once these Finance processes have been automated the next step in the project will be to use the VisitGroup platform to sell City Breaks to Oslo, and Ski Holidays in Norway, on the Danish website.”

 

First Super User group graduates from LS Retail Super User workshops

Workshops for Super Users of LS Retail are running across the DFDS network and the first group has just graduated

 

When it comes to on-board sales, it’s very important not just to have a good software platform to support sales, but also to have staff that can assist their colleagues in using it to its full potential.

Workshops that enable our staff to become even better at supporting sales are currently underway for Super Users of the LS Retail sales platform, which is used at all points of sale on board our passenger vessels across the DFDS network. Now the first group of LS Retail Super Users have graduated from their Super User training, and it is a great start for the LS Retail team that runs it.

This group consisted of crew members from the ships on the English Channel and some of their colleagues in the back office who attended a two-day workshop in Dover in late March and completed their training with another two-day session at the beginning of May. The first workshop was centred on the Super User role and the expectations of those taking it on, while the second session had a more technical approach and system focus.

“It was great to see true motivation and engagement for the role, and we are very pleased with the feedback from all of the participants at both events,” said Marianne Hagen, Business Analyst in Finance & IT, who is responsible for implementing the LS Retail Super User organisation.

Whenever you have a question related to LS Retail on the English Channel, please send an email to GroupLSRetailSuperUserEC@dfds.com.

The graduated Super Users are:
Christophe Langlois and Ludovic Guigot from Calais Seaways
Jorge Marques and Nayma Elalem from Delft Seaways
Jelena Savenkova and Rui Romão from Dunkerque Seaways
Scott Boyton and Jason Hulme from Dover Seaways
Pierre-Marie Barron and Jérôme Prin from Côte des Flandres
Laure-Anne Regnault and Emmanuel Coubel from Côtes des Dunes
Heidi Roberts, Ashley Hyde and Armelle Segain from the back-office functions in Whitfield, Dover and Dieppe

By mid-June, the Super User workshops for the Baltic ships will be in place, and after the summer holidays we will roll these out to the cruise routes.

More information on who the next Super Users will be and how to contact them will follow.

DFDS appearance in prime-time current affairs BBC TV show to 5 million viewers

A BBC TV show featuring DFDS shows how a woman from North East England must take a trip to Amsterdam every four months for her medication, which is not available in the UK.

 

The UK PR team in BU Group Passenger regularly receive requests for filming on board our vessels which can range from celebrity’s new shows to feature film and documentaries.

Earlier this month DFDS were approached by the producers of a UK current affairs TV show, the BBC One Show. The show is aired every Monday – Friday night for an hour to over 5 million viewers.

This particular feature episode was to follow a woman who lives in the North East of England, who is forced to make the crossing from Newcastle to Amsterdam every four months, to purchase NHS prescribed medication not available in the UK – which is legal under a licence.

The medication she takes is called Dronabinol which counteracts the extreme pain she suffers caused by Spondylosis. Spondylosis is a form of spinal osteoarthritis and is a degenerative disorder.

The filming included shots of the port externally and inside the terminal. It showed her receiving special assistance from the DFDS crew as she was helped on and off board along with boarding the coach into Amsterdam. Princess Seaways was also shown to viewers, at this time before her re-branding.

The story was aired on Monday 13 May and opened with her explaining why she has been prescribed the medication and how it alleviates her condition. She goes on to say that she is forced to make the journey every 4 months and at times during the piece is clearly distressed about the lengths she has to go to in order to be pain free.

The overall tone of the piece was very sympathetic to the passenger and her case. It highlighted the urgent need they see for a change to current UK policies surrounding this type of medication, which is being pursued by her local MP.

UK readers can watch the whole episode here – the story starts around 3.30 mins.

Strategy Days on the Newcastle – Amsterdam route

Pictured in IJmuiden terminal are: Andrew Meek; Jesper Christensen; Jean-Claude Charlo; Teun-Wim Leene; Chris Parker; Gemma Griffin; Steve Newberry; Kasper Moos; Wayne Bullen and Rianne Pels.

 

On Tuesday and Wednesday last week Kasper Moos and the BU Channel Management Team held their Team Strategy Days on the Newcastle – Amsterdam route.

Tuesday kicked off with a tour of the IJmuiden site including the terminal. It was wonderful to see so many colleagues not only those who are operationally part of the extended BU Channel Team but from BU Group Passenger Contact Centre and Marketing Teams.

After the site tour, we embarked on the beautiful King Seaways and availed of the fantastic meeting facilities in the private section of the North Sea Bistro Restaurant. Following our meeting we had an extensive tour of the vessel in all the commercial areas: front and back of house as well as the Bridge and the Engine room. It was just amazing to see how the passion and the professionalism drives the performance of this ship – it is a credit to all the officers and crew!


In the engine room onboard King Seaways.

A dinner hosted by the Senior Officers of King Seaways Captain Andreas Kristensen; Chief Engineer Henrik Fisker- Bjerg; First Engineer Claus Rasmussen and Commercial Head Jorn Vase gave Head Chef Dorte Slyngborg and team the opportunity to showcase their culinary talents as they gave us a taste of what’s to come from a new menu for North Sea Bistro.

Once we arrived in Newcastle we had a tour of the site and again had the opportunity to meet and greet lots of our colleagues including BU Group Passenger Contact Centre, Marketing and Sales teams.

It was a great couple of days said Kasper, not least by spending this quality time discussing BUC Strategy with the Senior team but also having the opportunity to network with so many of our colleague ship and shore.

A huge thanks to everyone that welcomed us and keep up the fantastic work that you are doing to create great experiences for our customers.

By Gemma Griffin, VP, HR & Crewing.

Legal and insurance training for heads of contact centres in BU Group Passenger

The main topic on the agenda was training in legal and insurance matters (claims handling) conducted by Kim Chalmer, General Manager, Group Insurance

On 16-17 April, Casper Puggaard, Global Sales & Service Director, gathered all heads of contact centres in IJmuiden for a two-day combined meeting and training session.

The main topic on the agenda was training in legal and insurance matters (claims handling) conducted by Kim Chalmer, General Manager, Group Insurance, and Jurga Repsyte, Company Counsel. The two days also included a Bearing workshop (an employee satisfaction survey), facilitated by Jonathan Uden, Training & Development Manager, and not least important work on the global contact centre strategy.

Casper says: “A big thank you to Kim and Jurga for a very educational workshop. You managed to deliver the training in a fun and inspirational way, where we all learned a lot of new things to bring back and share with our teams and colleagues.”

“I also want to thank the heads of contact centres for your great commitment during the two days. I am always impressed by the level of engagement I experience when we meet – and you always find the perfect balance of fun and hard work.”

BU Group Passenger: Successful sales initiative promotes Holland in Bloom

Mark Henderson on his way to 65 different travel agencies to promote the Newcastle – Amsterdam route

We all enjoy the wonderful blooming spring and the clever UK Passenger sales team uses the famous tulip season in Amsterdam to promote the Newcastle – Amsterdam mini-cruise.

Mark Henderson, Regional Sales Manager UK North, says: “Last week I went on an agent blitz to promote our fantastic mini-cruise to Amsterdam and what better way to do this than by bringing travel agents some tulips from Amsterdam. We do this annually, and we aim to visit as many agents as possible within three to four days. This is a very different kind of visit than what they are used to, and it is a great way to showcase our travels to agents who sell for thousands of different companies simultaneously.”

During his roadshow, Mark managed to visit more than 65 different travel agency branches throughout North East and North West England and Scotland, and he hand-delivered no less than 4000 tulips.

Besides promoting the Holland in Bloom mini-cruise where customers receive a free bunch of tulips on their return journey from Amsterdam, Mark and his colleagues also promoted their Keukenhof Gardens travel. Keukenhof Gardens is one of the world’s largest and most famous flower gardens.

“My colleague Graham Hopcraft and myself hosted a farm trip to Keukenhof for coach operators to showcase our on-board facilities and services. We took 20 operators (owners and decision makers) on a two-day trip with two nights on board and one day in Keukenhof and the city centre. They were blown away by the DFDS quality, and I would like to thank all crew on board King Seaways for the amazing trip we all had. All operators were very impressed and future bookings are already being sent over,” says Mark.

4000 tulips were delivered in person – much appreciated by the travel agency workers!

The beautiful Keukenhof Gardens

BU Group Passenger teams up with Visit Scotland in Berlin

The international tourism fair, ITB Berlin, is the leading trade show for the worldwide travel industry, with over 10,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries. Some 110,000 experts will be on hand for advice, speaking to over 160,000 visitors.

It was the 14th year for DFDS at ITB Berlin, which ran from 6 to 10 March. DFDS’ representation at the show has proved a great investment over the years and, with a brand-new stand, this year was no exception.

David Finnegan, Sales Manager, BU Group Passenger Travel Trade & Retail, and his team worked with Patricia Opfermann and Karen Ashwell from the BU Group Passenger Brand Marketing Team. They created and organised all the elements to make an engaging and informative experience, promoting our UK, Baltic and Scandinavian routes to visitors over the course of the five days.

During the show, David’s team was busy generating new clients as well as meeting with existing trade clients from the travel industry and the partnership side of the business.

As part of the partnership with Visit Scotland, the stand had a fun, interactive photo booth with a selection of Scottish and DFDS backgrounds. Over 400 visitors had their photo taken, and were given a printed, branded copy and a chance to win a six-day round trip to Scotland via our Amsterdam – Newcastle route.

Alison Winkler, Market Manager North Europe for Visit Scotland, says: “ITB 2019 gave us another great opportunity to work together with our long-standing partner DFDS, and we look forward to collaborating in future joint campaigns and events.”

David Finnegan says: ‘’Being part of this inspiring and diverse show is a must for DFDS. I would like to express my thanks to the team who worked at the show: Verena Gust, Account Manager (EC Groups); Sünje Schmidt, Regional Sales Manager (Central & Eastern Europe); Angela Merkus, Senior Account Manager; Alina Beckmann, apprentice in Hamburg; Sandra Schreiner, Partnerships; Sylvian Joannan, Campaign Marketing, and many more who came to Berlin and assisted behind the scenes.”

Process and tool alignment for BU Group Passenger’s contact centres

“This project aimed to align and standardise processes and tools across all contact centres in BU Group Passenger in order to achieve one way of working,” says Lee Christensen, Project Manager in Business Development and Strategy.

Since the transformation of BU Group Passenger, which started in autumn 2017, many improvement initiatives have been made, one of them being a process and tool alignment project for all contact centres.

Lee Christensen, Project Manager in Business Development and Strategy, says: “This project aimed to align and standardise processes and tools across all contact centres in BU Group Passenger in order to achieve one way of working. This allowed us to improve operational efficiency and ensure the same high-quality customer experience across all contact centres. Additional benefits have been a standardised way of measuring operations and a better foundation for strategic decision-making.”

Part of the project was also to improve the information flow between the on-board sales teams and the contact centres.

“Representatives from all passenger routes worked together to create a new shared on-board sales group information team site containing all the latest on-board materials like restaurant menus and shop magazines. This will make daily work easier in the contact centres and enhance the customer service,” says Lena Gilster, Business Process Developer in Business Development and Strategy.

The steering group for the project consisted of Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy Director & DIO, Brian Thorsted Hansen, Vice President, and Gemma Griffin, who was interim Contact Centre Director at the time.

Brian says: “A number of processes and tools have now been aligned, so this project links greatly to the new BU Group Passenger strategy in terms of focusing on standardisation, technology and customer relationships. Big thanks to business drivers Thomas Møller and Marcia Andrews for their huge contribution and to all contact centre heads and their teams for supporting and giving their input. Also a warm thank you to Lee and Lena for managing the project.”

King Seaways enjoys extensive overhaul and a new corporate livery

Time and wear always take their toll and it’s no different for ferries, which sometimes need a scrub and a new coat of paint, and in this case a fairly extensive renovation, modernisation and re-branding. Watch the video below to see a taste of the hard work that goes into making our ships look great.

In total more than 200 jobs were done while King Seaways was in dry dock recently at the Remontowa Ship Repair Yard in Gdansk, Poland, and re-branding was assuredly the most noticeable.

Over 24,000 m2 of painting was done inside and out, including the new DFDS brand colours and logo. Work was also completed on many other areas such as the underwater hull, renewal of steel, ballast tanks and piping. Additionally, Explorer’s Kitchen Restaurant was extended to add 100 seats, while new flooring was laid in the Navigator’s bar.

Workmen painting on the big DFDS letters. We don’t even know what font size this is

The BU Group Passenger brand marketing team employed a film crew near Gdansk who visited the shipyard on several occasions during drydock to capture the progress. The weather was a challenge on occasions, with painting of the exterior only able to take place when the weather was favourable. So, thanks to the crew who were often on standby and Mark Næstved who edited the film.

In the space of 12 days, King Seaways was reconditioned, refurbished and lovingly given a new lease of life. With thanks to Superintendent Claus Byder, who was responsible for the docking and works undertaken, and thanks also to the entire crew of King Seaways.

Main propellers shining after the overhaul

Following the works, King Seaways returned to her regular duties on the 15-hour Newcastle to IJmuiden route.

“We do love to share these time-lapse videos, they are a big trend on social media and a great way to show how much work goes into making our vessels look fantastic,” explained Catherine Jowett, Head of Brand Marketing, BU Group Passenger.

First day in dry dock. Ready to be worked on inside and out

The finished product: King Seaways looking sharp and wearing the new DFDS colours

BU Group Passenger successfully attracts visitors in the Baltics

Tourest is the oldest travel trade fair in the Baltics and this year it took place in Tallinn from 8 – 10 February.

For this event, BU Group Passenger organised a strong collaboration between Merje Vari of the Brand Marketing team, Rene Pärt from the Sales team and Ave Lomp from Customer Service. They represented DFDS at its finest.

They created a very innovative stand design and model build of a DFDS ferry to capture the attention of the visitors. This clever and striking concept included a bridge, where visitors could have their photos taken to share on social media.

“I am very happy with the outcome of our stand and the interest in DFDS over the three days. It was very exciting seeing our original sketch on a white board transforming into the finished product at the show. It created a lot of fun and engagement with the visitors and our objectives were most definitely exceeded,” says Merje Vari, Brand & Acquisition Specialist.

There were 533 exhibitors from 30 countries and over 26,000 visitors at the show. Ave Lomp, Customer Service Manager, and her team helped visitors make bookings at the stand and managed to generate more than 150 new passengers. General feedback was positive, and we received lots of new contacts and interest, both from travel professionals and private passengers. New sales contacts included the Motorhome rental company of Estonia and The Baltics Camping Club.

Rene Pärt, Sales & Partnership Manager, commented: “Participating in the biggest travel trade event in the Baltics was essential for raising brand awareness and telling the story of DFDS. The success of the event can already be seen in bookings and level of follow-ups. This is the result of great teamwork between Brand Marketing and Sales and a big thank you goes to Ave and colleagues from Customer Service for helping with the bookings. It bodes well for further developing the Estonian market.”


The whiteboard showing the early phase of the design process for the DFDS ferry stand

Group Passenger invited to Google for close collaboration

BU Group Passenger’s Acquisition Marketing team were invited to Google’s headquarter for Europe, Middle East and Africa in Dublin. The visit took place this week with three days of workshops and meetings on the opportunities to increase automation and Artificial Intelligence within DFDS’ marketing activity in order to enhance commercial performance

Google advertising generates in excess of EUR 55 million in revenue per year for the Passenger organisation. And since the transformation of BU Group Passenger, the Acquisition Marketing team has focused greatly on increasing its expertise in this area and building a very close relationship with Google, one of the world’s leading technology companies.

As part of the workshops the team had a first glimpse into some of the brand new, innovative products and services that Google will be releasing in 2019. Putting automation and Artificial Intelligence at the forefront, DFDS will be able to test and introduce more sophisticated strategies to work towards advanced optimum Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) models. It will also enable DFDS to activate a more dynamic and personal experience of adverts throughout the Google suite. Conversion is the end goal.

Innovation is also taking place across Google’s more creative products and services which DFDS is already beginning to test and roll out within existing Passenger activities. With a major change to the budgeting model used in Digital advertising, the booking conversion becomes the key indicator for an advertiser to be charged, as well as launching a new reach planner to support planning of activating activity on YouTube. Innovations such as these are providing DFDS with highly accurate projections for campaigns and helping us find new customers every day.

Close collaboration with Google has ensured DFDS Passenger activities have been whitelisted to gain access to these products before they are released to the general market. This gives us a clear competitive advantage.

‘’It was a hugely beneficial three days for our team and very exciting to see some of Google’s unreleased technology; a very uniquely motivating and rare opportunity to do so. We are always striving to simplify processes through automation and AI technology to enhance our performance. We are confident that improved direct collaboration with Google in 2019 and beyond will ensure that we lead our industry in various aspects of our digital acquisition mix,” says Sophie Hoult, Head of Acquisition Marketing.

Sophie Hoult (Head of Acquisition Marketing), Joshua Boyes (Performance Marketing Manager) and Eleanor Stafford (Digital Media Manager) met with Morten Tarris, Google’s Northern European Director for strategic discussion and planning. The aim is increased collaboration between DFDS Passenger business and Google

Gathering knowledge and Customer Service Centre heads

Casper Puggaard, the new Global Sales & Service Director in BU Group Passenger has had a busy start to the year with his new job visiting various locations in the organisation. Last week in Dover, he had the pleasure of gathering all six Heads of our Contact Centres for a hand-over from Gemma Griffin. Gemma has been filling in as Interim Director in addition to doing her regular job as VP of HR and Crewing in the Channel.

“It was a really valuable meeting that included a fun and educational meet-and-greet session and a thorough review of the Passenger strategy. The contact Centre Heads have done a great job developing a functional strategy for their area, which fits perfectly with the overall strategy and direction for BUGP and DFDS. It is also extremely important for me to meet and build relations with colleagues from both within and outside of my team” says Casper.

The meeting also made room for an update on the great BUGP results from 2018, the BUGP Digital and IT strategy for 2019 and Gemma presented elements from the Bearing survey results for the Contact Centres.

“With the new strategy in place, I expect that we will be able to transform DFDS’ Contact Centre operation into a world-class, modern and digitised operation. I am really looking forward to continuing the journey, which we have just kicked off in the best possible way together,” says Casper.

Learning about the Channel

Prior to the meeting, Casper spent half a day with Operations Director Jesper Christensen and Gemma Griffin to learn about the market and the business on the Channel. Casper went with one of our Channel ferries to Calais and returned to Dover via Eurotunnel in order to experience one of our competitors on the Channel.

Field trip to Dieppe and Hamburg

As a new director in an international Passenger organisation, a field trip is a great way of meeting colleagues and understanding the business. Casper Puggard, Global Sales & Service Director joined DFDS in January 2019, and together with Brian Thorsted Hansen, VP BU Group Passenger, he visited our offices in Dieppe and Hamburg in recent weeks.

“Visiting the business will help our efforts to deliver on standardisation and share best practice across BUGP. These are central elements in our strategy and therefore critical success factors. The visits gave us great insights into what we call ‘The real world’, which is where our customers are, and where our top line revenue is generated,” says Brian.

In Dieppe, Brian and Casper presented the DFDS and BU Group Passenger strategies for 2019, which resulted in great questions and feedback.

In Hamburg, Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy Director & DIO, facilitated a Strategy 2019 workshop with great involvement, engagement and energy from everyone in the office. Casper met with team members from Sales and the Contact Centre to gain an introduction to the German market and customers.

“It has been a pleasure to visit the two offices and get to know many of my new colleagues, who have all been extremely helpful and welcoming. I am very dependent on building relations throughout the entire Passenger network to make sure we know how and where we support each other in the best possible way in driving the business, and to ensure good, transparent dialogue and cooperation across the organisation,” says Casper.

Casper will visit Dover and Klaipeda this week.

New Year, new Pearl

Earlier this week, Pearl Seaways was diverted from her usual Copenhagen – Oslo route to the shipyard Fayard on Funen for a planned maintenance docking in relation to a 30-year inspection.

In addition to the usual steel and other maintenance work, the construction team will have a busy time ahead renovating the hotel before her expected return to the route in February.

“We are very happy to have the opportunity to invest in an expansion of the facilities with a new VIP conference lounge instead of the on-board casino. I am certain that the new expansion will create even more value for our customers and DFDS alike,” says Kim Heiberg, Route Director.

“We will also be moving our restaurant Little Italy to avoid any confusion between the concepts of Little Italy and our gourmet restaurant, SJØ. It is very important that all our restaurants have a unique feel to them, giving our customers lots of choice according to taste and atmosphere. The relocation will give SJØ the right atmosphere that was always intended for a high-end restaurant. The restaurants will now be located very much like on board Crown Seaways.”

When Pearl is back in operation, she will also have a brand new shore power system installed. The new system will allow her to utilise the shore power supply, which was installed at the Port of Oslo last year. Electrical power will be delivered to Pearl by the system while she is berthed, and her main engine can be shut down to adhere to the environmental requirements in the Port of Oslo.