DFDS is an international shipping and logistics’ company, and one of the largest provider of ferry passenger services in Europe. It is headquartered in Copenhagen and operates ferry routes across Europe, with the most prominent ones being the Dover-Calais route, Copenhagen to Oslo, Newcastle to Amsterdam and the Baltic.
DFDS recruited Simon-Kucher following a long and meticulous procurement process where they interviewed 8 management consultancies. The remit we were given was to develop their pan-European price and revenue management strategy for their passenger ferry business as well as develop a revenue management centre of excellence for all their routes. The project involved conducting a comprehensive market study across 6 different countries (UK, France, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Germany), with a multi-country consultancy team from the UK, France, Germany & Denmark offices of Simon-Kucher.
We first started by getting a very good understanding of their business and their current ways of working with particular focus on how they price their products, market them to multiple source markets as well as how they revenue manage price and occupancy on a daily basis.
Our review identified that they had employed different practices on pricing, marketing and revenue management between different countries, with considerable opportunity to optimise them further but also make them more centrally integrated. At the same time, it was clear that they had capable teams that could take care of such a transformation, which, however, required the organisational set-up and direction as well as the relevant infrastructure to do so.
Following that internal review, we came up with a set of hypotheses on how they could further enhance and optimise their pricing practices, marketing effectiveness and revenue management practices. To validate such hypotheses we conducted a comprehensive market research study at 6 core countries (UK, France, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany) where they were active. In parallel, we conducted detailed data analysis of their transactions to establish, from a bottom-up approach, the potential revenue impact of improving their pricing, marketing and revenue management practices.
Using the insights from the research and analysis, we were able to deliver the following core deliverables:
§ A recommended 3-tier ticket architecture for their channel offering (good/better/best) that allowed them to have an attractive rate in the market, but also provide an upsell path to upsell customers to more value and higher price
§ A pricing playbook on how they should price their product, accounting for price rules on length of stay, cabin supplements, car categories and source markets that will further optimise their revenue for the available capacity they have
§ A marketing strategy to drive brand awareness and eventual incremental volume & revenue in their routes at less busy periods of the year
§ Two customized revenue management solutions with relevant visualisation reports that we built and helped them implement centrally, one for the channel ferry routes (Dover – Calais) and one for their mini-cruise offerings (Copenhagen to Oslo and Newcastle to Amsterdam)
§ A centralised pricing and revenue management organisational structure sitting in their headquarters in Copenhagen supported by a data science and analytics team that took ownership of the delivered and implemented revenue management systems.
The international nature of the project was reflected in multiple dimensions, from the client having offices and operations in multiple countries (Denmark, UK, France), the consultants on the team coming from 4 different offices of Simon-Kucher (France, UK, Germany & Denmark) and the market study covering 6 different source markets with differences in perceptions of DFDS’ services and value proposition.
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