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Calais Seaways lay up

Calais Seaways

Due to the continued Covid-19 situation, demand for our Dover – Calais service has reduced. We will therefore adjust our schedule and will temporarily lay up the Calais Seaways. The route will continue sailing with a reduced frequency in order to service our freight customers and drivers as well as travelers with an essential transport need.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Sailings on our Dover – Calais service will continue to a reduced schedule as we have an obligation to keep servicing our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains and those undertaking essential travel. This is in line with the Government’s recommendations to ensure that there is food and other goods on the shelves in the supermarkets and supply of goods to keep wheels turning in industry and communities.

“Unfortunately, the change to our schedule will have an impact for a number of colleagues and we are currently in dialogue with staff, crews, works council and union representatives in respect of that.”

“Needless to say, myself and the whole management team are extremely proud of the way everyone has continued to take care of our customers and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. Now conditions beyond our control have meant a reduction in our frequency on the Dover – Calais service, but I can’t wait to welcome everyone back again as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control and travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

DFDS suspends on-board services on UK – France routes

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the UK – France ferry routes are unable to continue most of their on-board service activities. This means that bars, restaurants and shops on board will be closed until further notice. The routes will continue sailings with a high frequency in order to service our freight customers and their drivers as well as travellers with a transport need.

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of the Covid-19 virus, DFDS has to close restaurants, bars, shops and other services on board our Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkerque and Dieppe – Newhaven routes over the weekend.

Kasper Moos, Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Sailings will continue at a high frequency as we have an obligation to keep servicing our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains. This is in line with the Government’s recommendations to ensure that there is food and other goods on the shelves in the supermarkets and supply of goods to keep wheels turning in industry and communities.

“Unfortunately, the suspension of on-board services will mean that a number of colleagues at sea and ashore will be sent home temporarily, and we are currently in dialogue with staff, crews and union representatives as well as the authorities on possible schemes to mitigate the consequences of this.”

“We fully understand the concerns this causes amongst our staff. But whilst we are doing what we can to comply with new measures and restrictions, we are also trying to keep the wheels turning and at the same time protect our business throughout the crisis.

“Needless to say, myself and the whole management team are extremely proud of the way you have continued to take care of our customers and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. Now conditions beyond our control have put a temporary end to our on-board services, but I can’t wait to welcome you back again as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control and travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

COVID-19 measures on the UK – France routes

Dover Seaways, and other ferries on the UK – France routes, will sail with additional COVID-19 measures and precautions.

To slow down the spread of COVID-19 on our UK – France routes, several measures are implemented including reducing the number of passengers allowed on board and precautions advised by World Health Organisation. There are no changes to the sailing schedules.

Over the last few days, the French government has taken significant measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within France.  

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “There are no changes to our sailing schedulesTo minimise the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of those travelling, we have reduced the maximum number of people allowed on each crossing by 50% on our routes; Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkirk and Newhaven – Dieppe until at least 6 April. Passenger booking remains open as we work hard to ensure that people can get home and undertake essential travel. 

In addition, other onboard precautions advised by the World Health Organisation are implemented which includes:  

  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use. 
  • Ongoing extra touchpoint cleaning. 
  • No more than 100 people in each of our venues onboard 
  • The ships’ crew is subject to strict measures and hygiene requirements. 
  • The ships carry a stock of masks to limit the spread of infection, if the need should arise. 

“We are committed to ensure that our passengers have the best service and experience whilst travelling with us and we will continue to do so during this difficult period” says Kasper. 

He continues: Our routes between the UK and France are also an important part of the arteries of trade. We will therefore continue to provide frequency and capacity to ensure that vital goods can reach shops and businesses. 

Calais Seaways saves Columbo

No day in PR is predictable and that especially goes for Fridays where anything can happen. For Naomi Harper, PR Manager, Friday the 11th was absolutely no exception. Listen to Naomi’s take on a memorable day.

I settled down for a quiet day of planning when the phone rang, as it so often does. Sometimes it is just a customer who has dialled the wrong number and is looking to get through to make a booking. On this occasion though, the gentleman called Adam on the end of the line sounded panicked and said it was an emergency. So there was no doubt in my mind that I had to help.

Adam explained that he and his wife, Yaneth, and their Boxer dog, Columbo, were on their way home from Calais. There had been an issue with Columbo’s pet passport and Eurotunnel wouldn’t accept it. Adam had to immediately return to the UK due to work commitments and to return a vehicle, so he had to leave his wife and dog in Calais.

His question to us was, after having Columbo’s pet passport re-stamped and waiting the required 24 hours, could they sail back with us the next day as foot passengers. They sadly could not as our Eastern Channel route doesn’t take foot passengers. I was, however, determined to find another way.

After checking with the team, we arranged a DFDS van to collect Yaneth and Columbo in Calais the next day and pop them onto Calais Seaways for a smooth crossing back to Dover. Yaneth enjoyed a glass of prosecco in the Premium Lounge and treated Columbo to a toy from the on-board shop.

Adam then met them at the Port of Dover for a safe onward journey. Additionally, Adam mentioned afterwards that he’s a business studies lecturer at a university and would be using DFDS as a case study to show his students how a business should treat its ‘potential’ customers and win them as actual customers.

It was brilliant team work, pulling this together at the last minute to bring these passengers back to the UK, so thank you to Cyril Bourgois in Calais, Therese Boullot on Calais Seaways, Guy Ellis in Dover, Jesper Christensen and Gemma Griffin.

New ferry for the Channel reaches another milestone in construction

Last Tuesday the traditional keel-laying ceremony took place at Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, to officially celebrate the next stage of construction of our combined freight and passenger ferry destined for the Channel. She will be named Côte d’Opale.

The keel once made up the backbone of a ship, connecting bow to stern and extending the length of the ship. When the keel was laid at the ceremony, it signified the birth of the ship and the yard workers could start building the hull around the keel.

Nowadays, the traditional keel has been replaced by huge sections that are welded together to form the hull of a ship. However, the tradition lives on and last Tuesday, a section was lowered in the drydock at Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, to represent the keel-laying for our combined freight and passenger ferry.

Together with representatives of the shipyard, Stena RoRo and DFDS’ own Senior Charterer’s Representative, Anders B Thomsen, was in attendance at the ceremony too.

Stena RoRo is owner of the vessel and DFDS will take the ferry on a 10-year bareboat charter with delivery from China by the end of June 2021. The 214 metres long ferry will be the longest ship on the Channel with capacity for 1,000 passengers and crew together with 160 trailers. She is intended for use on the Dover – Calais route and is therefore named after one of the most beautiful coastal regions in France, Côte d’Opale, which borders Belgium and is situated opposite the cliffs of south-east England.


Senior Charterer’s Representative Anders B Thomsen at the keel-laying ceremony

Dover – France routes launch new Pirate Island kids pack

Young ones and others young at heart can channel their inner pirate on the Dover – France routes with the new Pirate Island pack

Kids boarding the ferries on the Dover – France routes can now look forward to being part of Jack the Pirate’s crew. Our junior guests will be issued two different pirate packs at check-in from Dover and France consisting of various activities on each crossing.

“This initiative will definitely be an amusing part of the voyage for the young ones when travelling with us over the high season. The pack also compliments the fabulous new Pirate Island Zapper app which was devised by our great on-board commercial team in Dover,” says Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager.

“With the app you go around the ship zapping the treasure hunt posters allowing you to get a selfie with the Pirate Island crew of Jack the Pirate, Sam the Turtle and co. It will also lead you to the special Pirate Island menu in the 7 Seas Restaurant and play area available on all vessels.

“We will also have pirate island mascots on board on selected departures where our junior guests and parents can have a selfie with the characters in a pop-up Pirate Island area. So, if you see Jack the Pirate, Sam the Turtle and Ali Kazam, please do go and say hi.”


The pack includes a colouring pop-up scene with the Pirate Island characters, three colouring pencils, a DFDS adventure book, a selfie mask and a post card to send home


Steve Garner showcasing the Pirate Island Zapper app by having a picture with Sam the Turtle

BU Channel adds Newhaven – Dieppe route to Freight Ferry Alerts App

Digital and BU Channel are adding to the Freight Ferry Alerts App, and we will soon be offering this tool for both Dover and Newhaven – Dieppe routes. Pictured is Seven Sisters departing Newhaven.

 

DFDS is well known for going the extra mile, nautical and otherwise, for its customers. In general operations that takes many forms. One service we are very happy to offer is live service updates for our customers and their drivers with the Freight Ferry Alerts App, which will soon be supported for both the Dover and Newhaven – Dieppe routes.

From 13 May the app will become available for the Newhaven – Dieppe route as part of the ongoing development. Hasan Ünal, Product Owner in Digital, says: “Digital and all business units are working closer on app projects, with good results. For instance, a previous project added QR code-compatible check-in gates for freight drivers in terminals. Our long-term strategy is to create a DFDS app universe where we ensure a smooth, coherent and satisfying journey when engaging with DFDS services. We have established a product team in Digital with exciting projects on the way.”

Cheryl Hawes, Freight Customer Service Manager, Freight Sales, UK & EC, says: “This is great news that following the idea from our Dover route we will now be launching this for our customers on the Newhaven – Dieppe route. BU Channel have been working with Digital and external developers to expand on the success of this app that gives much needed information about real-time traffic situations, along with safety messages and marketing of USPs to our customers and their drivers, without hassle, confusion or delays in information. A special thanks go to Stephanie Hure and Stephanie Goux for supporting the swift implementation. This has been an excellent example of working together and where sharing best practice benefits our freight customers.”

Sean Potter, Ferry Divisional Head, Digital & Systems, adds: “We are always looking for ways to ease and improve the constant and necessary cooperation with our customers. One significant area we are focusing on is how, with a straightforward app, we can communicate very efficiently to ensure that our customers’ daily operations go smoothly on our vessels. I look forward to this type of customer communication being established in the near future across the rest of the Ferry Division network as part of our ongoing strategy with the Digital team towards development opportunities.”

Another welcome addition is Turkish language support on the app. You can read about the digitisation benefits of this app from an earlier article.

Ferries on our Dover – France routes get superfast internet

The new system increases the broadband capacity from about 2 Mbits to 50-100 Mbits

Following an agreement between the DFDS IT project team and the Swedish company Nowhere Networks, the six ferries on our Dover – Calais and Dover – Dunkerque routes get a superfast internet connection.

It increases the broadband capacity from about 2 Mbits to 50-100 Mbits, and this is very appreciated by Steve Newbery, On-board Commercial Director of BU Channel. He says: “This will really add value for our passengers and help our staff in their work. Furthermore, we have lots of projects right now that require a reliable broadband connection.”

The system is currently installed on one ship, and the project team plan to deploy the system on the remaining five ships over the next two months.

“Last year we had more than 129,000 families travelling with us, and highly-improved Wi-Fi means that we can launch our Pirate Island augmented reality treasure hunt for families, and it makes sharing pictures on social media so much easier,” Steve says.

Gert Møller, Vice President & CIO, says: “The project has been ongoing for almost five years, and now we have finally found this small Swedish company that recently tested a new concept very successfully at Tallink, a shipping company with sailings between Helsinki and Tallinn.”

“Nowhere Networks produces low-cost tracking antennas, allowing them to deploy several tracking antennas ashore and on the ships. This increases capacity and performance vastly, and signal delays are significantly reduced. It really is bleeding-edge technology, bordering on the impossible and certainly not an off-the-shelf solution!”

The Nowhere Network solution includes everything from equipment to the full operation of it and on top of that, they deliver high-quality broadband at a considerably lower cost compared to other suppliers on the market.

The technology can only be used on the short Dover – Dunkerque – Calais routes because the system is based on a radio link with a range of no more than 50-60 km.

“I want to thank Jan Svane and Poul Daugaard from the Network and Communications Department and Xavier Kemp in Dover, who manages all the local installations. They have done a great job in reaching this milestone,” Gert says.

 

BU Channel celebrates reading and storytelling as part of World Book Day

Over the last weeks our British colleagues have promoted World Book Day, a charity that strive to encourage families to take time to share stories and promote the importance of reading for pleasure. It’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading.

As part of DFDS’ World Book Day campaign, Children and families from the UK, France, Netherlands and Germany participated in unique workshops facilitated by six enthusiastic British children book authors on board Côte Des Dunes and King Seaways.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager for DFDS said: “We were delighted to be able to offer these engaging and interactive workshops during the busy February half-term. As a ferry operator, we recognise that families are given quality time they may not otherwise have when travelling by other modes of transport.”

Read a lot more about the two events on board Côte Des Dunes and King Seaways in the full press releases:
Eastern Channel event on board Côte Des Dunes

North Sea event on board King Seaways


Author Steve Cole ran a creative writing workshop, during which he taught children quick-and-easy ways to invent and grow story ideas

 


Award-winning novelist Gwyneth Rees shared some childhood experiences of writing stories and told the children about her first book, which she wrote at just 10 years old

 


Illustrator Lynne Chapman taught the children how to make illustrations simple, yet emotive and effective

 


Musician, poet, author and enthusiastic Miles Salter had the children on their feet and encouraged children to tell stories through acting and role play

Channel customers delayed by thorough customs checks

Calais Seaways was moved from Calais – Dover to Dunkerque – Dover to help out for a period of time

Today, French Channel ports are experiencing major traffic flow problems as French Customs seems to have decided to check travellers coming into France from the UK more thoroughly than usual. At times this is causing longer waiting times and queues, even on the roads leading to the ports.

“We are very sorry for this situation and the effect it has on our customers. In Dunkerque, our large capacity for storing trucks helps us mitigate the consequences, and many customers that would normally use Calais have been seeking Dunkerque for this reason, says Sébastien Douvry, Operations Director. Calais Seaways was moved from Calais – Dover to Dunkerque – Dover to help out for a period of time.

“We understand it is related to a disagreement between Customs and the customs workers’ union. However, we strongly urge them help us maintain flow in the Channel services as it is causing a big problem for our customers. We have a very positive cooperation with the French Customs in the work preparing for Brexit. They are cooperative and open in their efforts to find workable solutions that will mitigate the consequences of Brexit on traffic between the UK and France. And I am confident that we will be able to find solutions that will help us provide a good service to our customers and avoid unnecessary delays if we continue our good cooperation,” says Kasper Moos, Head of BU Channel.

Sharing the Valentine’s love in BU Channel

The #DFDSSURPRISES winner’s voucher brought smiles from coast to coast in BU Channel

 

The romantic day of love we call Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on 14 February in honour of the two early saints named Valentinus. The BU Channel team put their heads together on what they could do to celebrate the day.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, said “There was so much love in the air onboard and ashore and we could not let the day of love pass without sharing this with our wonderful customers. In Dover, Dunkirk and Calais our tickets offices were dressed in hearts and banners, and our customers enjoyed chocolates and Valentine’s sweets.”

20 lucky passengers were also selected at each of the three ports and given a #DFDSSURPRISES winner’s voucher – A real Valentine’s treat with complimentary lounge access and a meal for two, along with a rose and a box of chocolates.

The charming solo passenger Derek, aged 71 was overwhelmed at the surprise and caused quite a stir with fun and laughter together with Dover’s check-in team and their Customer Support Supervisor, Lenka Frycova

On Friday the sharing of love continued in Newcastle where the team also decorated the terminal in a Valentine’s theme, gave out chocolates to our passengers and upgraded four couples to a complimentary two course meal and a bottle of wine in the North Sea Bistro for their cruise between Newcastle and Amsterdam on board King Seaways.

Restaurant tables for the lucky passengers were set with rose confetti and a ‘love’ cracker, arranged by Jade Whitfield, Port Office Manager and Tamara Rebair, Port Supervisor from Newcastle

The channel overflowed with smiles from our excited winners, as did our social media with lots of sweet comments from our followers.

“Did cupid work his magic onboard Calais Seaways whilst sailing into the Channel sun? Or did he wait for King Seaways to cruise into the night dusk of the North Sea? Who can really say? This event was a great opportunity to give something back to our guests who appreciated the extra attention on both our Dover-France and Newcastle-Amsterdam routes,” added Steve.

 

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True cooperation: Shipping and Digital launch ecommerce for Freight in 67 days

On November 1st, we are live with a new offering to our Shipping customers on the Channel. “Spot” customers, who used to show up at the terminal and pay for a freight crossing with cash or a credit card, can now book a simple “No Fuss” freight ticket online in just a couple of clicks.

“We set out to provide the simplest possible product for our spot customers in the fastest possible time,” says Kasper Moos, Vice President & Head of BU Channel, who has been driving the initiative from a Shipping perspective. “Before, customers could buy freight crossings online from resellers and other providers, but not directly from us. Some of these resellers are strategic partners for us, and we are not trying to compete with them, but we are trying to offer an alternative to unauthorized resellers, as well as to provide the kind of service that our customers expect from us in a digital age. I encourage anyone inside DFDS who has an urgent need to book and buy a freight trip across the Channel to get out their credit card and buy a ticket here.”

As of today, customers can buy this one simple product – a one-way ticket in either direction between Dover and Calais or Dunkerque. Sales will be carefully monitored, and other web analytics data collected to evaluate how this performs. Going forward, this data will help the team to decide how to develop the ecommerce offering – with more types of ticket, value added services and/or across more routes.

Sophie-Kim Chapman, Vice President Digital and Marketing told us, “This is exactly the kind of cooperation we want to drive more of going forwards. Rather than Digital and IT teams working on a solution with the Business at somewhat of a distance, we have been working as one cross-functional team, including commercial and operational people from BU Channel, and with a very clear shared vision of speed and simplicity for the first launch.”

Sophie-Kim Chapman and Kasper Moos

The team who delivered this new digital freight experience worked with Lean Start-up and Design Thinking methods, and co-starred Robin Sedgwick and Cheryl Hawes (BU Channel), Anne-Kathrine Kjær Christensen (Product Owner, Digital), Caroline Lehman Nelson (UX Designer, Digital), Allan Houmark (Developer, IT), Kunuk Nykjaer (Developer, IT), Tommy Sørensen (Developer, IT), Jesper Bendtsen Kirkegaard (Tester, IT) plus consultants from Trifork. The team enjoyed support from Wayne Bullen and various other members of the BU Channel team, Legal, Finance, IT Architecture and the DIO for Shipping, Sean Potter.

BU Channel offers a spooktacular Halloween welcome to its guests

Halloween started early in BU Channel this year. Our colleagues in Dover, Dunkerque and Calais started the celebrations on 26 October to provide customers with a spooktacular welcome. Ports, ticket offices and check-in booths were decorated in a scary Halloween theme, and our colleagues were dressed up in fantastic costumes.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: “We all had lots of fun, both our valuable customers and the talented team. Our colleagues really pushed the boat out and showcased some fantastic costumes which were very entertaining to our guests. There was lots of laughter on arrival at check-in when a witch or a warlock popped their head out of the booth window to collect passports.”

“We also deployed additional staff in the car lanes trick and treating, and selecting some lucky customers for complimentary upgrades to our Premium Lounge and Priority Loading products. Jack the Pirate was out in the car lanes loading the ship and sporting some Halloween accessories, and our on-board services team were also promoting seasonal goods of spiced pumpkin latte and gingerbread men on board in the Lighthouse café. A big thank you to all our fantastic team members for making such a fabulous effort for our guests.”

Dover:

Dunkerque:

Calais:

 

Selfie Seaways bringing joy on Channel vessels

The creative team in Dover are always seeking new ways to increase customer satisfaction. The latest additions comprise a selfie vessel and binoculars for children.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: ”Our passengers have a lot of fun when having their photo taken on board Selfie Seaways. We have these on board all Channel vessels and in our ticket offices. Actually, this has been such a big success that we have now also placed orders for selfie vessels for Newcastle, IJmuiden, Newhaven and Dieppe. Thank you to Hawa Turner, Marketing Manager OBS, for creating the selfie stands for the ports and on board.

“We are also giving away children’s binoculars at check-in and encourage the kids with their parents to go around the ship and decks and share what they experience at sea. The children are very happy to get this free welcome gift.”

 

The French Budget Minister visits Dunkerque

On 10 July, the French Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin visited the port of Dunkerque with the president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand, to discuss the customs work in the Brexit context.

He met the main port actors and considered the impact of Brexit on exchanges between the United Kingdom and the European Union, in terms of people and goods. DFDS, as Dover – Dunkerque operator, was invited to join the visit. Jean-Claude Charlo, head of the French organisation for the BU Channel, briefed Gérald Darmanin on the risks of Brexit for the shipping business.

“It was a great opportunity to make our voices heard as operator and to alert the minister about the major consequences for our business. The impact of Brexit and the weight of customs formalities can become an obstacle for port fluidity. We also offered to work together on the future customs model to be set up after Brexit,” says Jean-Claude Charlo.

Technical problems in Port of Newhaven

Last Sunday, Seven Sisters was unable to dock in Port of Newhaven due to technical problems with the port docking mechanism.

“We had no other option than to turn Seven Sisters around and go back to Dieppe, which unfortunately meant that our customers had to see their destination get smaller and smaller. The guests were offered to stay on the ferry overnight in Dieppe, and in the afternoon bus trips to Calais were offered for those of our passengers who were unable to drive by themselves. From Calais they got on the ferry for Dover, from where another bus drive took them to Newhaven,” says Jean-Claude Charlo, Head of the French organisation in BU Channel.

“During the long journey, complimentary meals were served to our passengers. Our crew really did their best to find solutions and offer support wherever they could, and I would like to thank our colleagues on board and ashore in Newhaven and Dieppe for being flexible and doing their best to get our passengers to their destination as quickly as possible.”

During repair of the ramp all traffic was cancelled, which meant that Seven Sisters and Côte D’Albatre were directed on to the Dover – Calais route until Tuesday afternoon when the ramp had been fixed.

Dover introduces Customer Experience Associates during high season

Supporting our customers whilst waiting to board the vessel in the loading lanes is absolutely vital and from 16 July to 9 September, the operations team in Dover will introduce the seasonal position of Customer Experience Associate.

They will be responsible for collecting customer satisfaction data along with promoting upsell opportunities. The team will be able to take payment in the lanes via portable chip and pin devices. They will also support our customers with general information, live port and sailing updates via social media and terminal communication channels.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: “It is extremely important that our guests feel supported and cared for after check-in and prior to going onboard. We have a mixture of permanent and seasonal staff who will be deployed into this position over the busy holiday period. Training has already commenced, and the team was provided with a food-tasting session to give a full understanding of our food offering on board. Thanks to Dave Lewis, Category Manager, Food and Beverage, for providing a great session to provide education on the offering for the new team members. They now feel much more confident in upselling. The food was very tasty! The team has also been given an overview of the Calais and Dunkerque terminals to enable them to help customers with questions regarding their return travel, and additional training in other areas will follow too,” says Steve.

“We have been working together with Steph Fox, Social Media Manager from BUGP, to promote our new Customer Experience Associates via social media channels so our guests will be fully aware of the extra support while waiting at the port. If any of our colleagues are travelling with us during the high season, please give Karen, Paul, Steph and Callum a wave,” Steve adds.

Direct Ferries visit DFDS

On Thursday 28 June, several key members of the Direct Ferries commercial and operations teams, including their CEO, Commercial Director and Contact Centre Manager, were given a full tour of our operation at Dover Portland. They also took part in a sailing from Dover to Calais, returning via Dunkerque.

Direct Ferries is one of our largest online travel agents in BUGP, delivering almost 175,000 vehicle legs in 2017, so the visit was indeed an important event.

The guests were joined by several key stakeholders from DFDS from our operations and commercial teams who hosted them on the day. The purpose of the visit was so that they could experience the full customer journey that their customers experience, as well as agreeing on ways we can work together to improve this journey.

A workshop was held on board the ship where several of these areas were discussed in more detail, such as how to improve the quality of booking confirmations and how to provide more accurate information during busy or disrupted departures.

Colin Fawcus, UK National Sales Manager says: “It was great to meet up and discuss how we can improve the journey for our joint customers, as well as letting the Direct Ferries Team travel and experience the customer journey. The whole day really was in the spirit of honesty and transparency and putting our customers first.”

Channel campaign

The BU Group Passenger brand marketing team has recently launched an exciting new advertising campaign promoting our Dover to Calais and Dunkirk routes. The will run in May and June across the south east of England and includes radio advertising, press ads in local newspapers and outdoor posters at motorway service stations, railway stations and town centres. There’s also a huge radio promotion on Heart Kent to win VIP crossings on our Dover-Calais route.

Franziska Reckling, Brand Media Manager for BUGP said: “Our aim is to raise awareness of DFDS and the channel routes to ultimately drive web visits and bookings, and we also wanted to create a bit of a buzz and that’s where Heart Kent radio station came in. They have been heavily promoting our routes to France for several weeks now and creating lots of excitement around the competition.

Heart Kent created a video for us to use internally to showcase our advertising campaign. The breakfast show presenters also travelled on Dover-Calais and created a fantastic video showing what they got up to onboard.

Catherine Jowett, Head of Brand Marketing added: “This campaign has been a big team effort as colleagues from different departments have helped make it happen. This includes the crew Calais Seaways and Cote des Dunes, Steve Garner & Lauren Fox from operations and also Kasper Moos, who stars in our video.  We were also really pleased to use our new brand design created by Brand Innovation team which will be rolled out across DFDS in coming months.”

 

 

BU Channel introduces new pet travel initiatives

The team at BU Channel just introduced a new range of pet-friendly perks and products on our ferry services from Dover to both Calais and Dunkerque to ensure that beloved furry family members have the best possible journey.

With summer being the peak period for pet travel to the Continent, the teams expect to be giving away 1,000 Furry Pet Travel Kits that include a pop-up water bowl or travel bottle, a bottle of fresh water, tasty treats and a pet-travel checklist for owners to ensure their pet is safe and ready for departure.

The new initiative also includes a dedicated webpage with easy-to-access information on travelling on ferries with pets, a pre-travel text message service and free use of window ventilation guards that will ensure airflow while the pet remains in the vehicle during the journey.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel says: “We are always looking for new initiatives to improve the products and services we offer to enhance the customer experience for our valuable guests, certainly not forgetting our furry pet travellers too. And we could not let this launch go without a celebration, so we brought together our customers, team members and some furry friends to celebrate at the Port of Dover, along with celebrations by our colleagues in Calais and Dunkerque too. There is nothing better than sharing new ideas and services, and seeing our guests’ delight at the same time. So much fun was had, as you can probably see from the images from the festive launch.

“A big thank you goes to Jordan Wing, Assistant Manifest Supervisor for ‘donning’ the dog costume to welcome our guests at the port and all the team members who worked hard in Dover, Dunkerque and Calais to make sure this super event was a great success! Also, thanks to our colleagues in BU Group Passenger for all the great work which has gone into our new dedicated webpage at www.dfds.co.uk/pets,” Steve adds.

Dover:

 

 

Dunkerque:

 

 

Calais: