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B BRIEFING


Plain sailing


A thorough revitalisation of a Dutch ferry operator’s hospitality outlets has led to a significant increase in passenger satisfaction and revenue, says Tom Rietveld FCSI of HTC Advisors


A


pproximately four years ago, ferry service Rederij Doeksen decided to start restyling the hospitality areas on board five of its ships, as well as in the terminal building in Harlingen, the Netherlands. The Dutch transport provider, which is part of Koninklijke Doeksen BV (Royal), runs ferries between Harlingen and two West Frisian Islands, Vlieland and Terschelling. The revitalisation was needed in order to meet the needs and expectations of the modern day passenger. The development of these new concepts revolved around the theme “island home”: warm, natural and cosy colour schemes, plus robust materials. The revamp began in 2007, when


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Rederij Doeksen’s management adopted a new paradigm – the “hostmanship- philosophy”, which focuses on passenger experience. As a result, a set of strategic adjustments was implemented, with stunning results: passenger satisfaction increased significantly. Dirk Spoor, head of catering, front office and the contact centre, says: “It’s quite spectacular, our service scores more than eight out of 10. This is a higher score than any public transportation service provider in the Netherlands.” The hospitality outlets, however, were falling behind. HTC Advisors (consultants to the hotel, restaurant, catering and recreation sector) were approached to


consult and provide direction in the much-needed transformation of the hospitality on board the ferries and in the terminal. The first step in this process was a quick look around in order to diagnose the situation. HTC concluded that the concepts were outdated and lacking professionalism.


Fresh outlook HTC’s conclusions were drawn at a time when the number of passengers was increasing, not to mention their demands. After the strategy and theme were agreed upon, a reorganisation of job descriptions and classification was implemented with a view to enhancing Rederij Doeksen’s


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