FerryGateway is an initiative that was started by 8 major Ferry companies in North-West Europe. The purpose is to have a new standard for communication between Ferry Operators and Agents or other Leisure organizations. The new standard, FerryGateway, opens new opportunities for both Ferry operators, Agents and other Travel organizations and be beneficial both from a commercial and technical point of view. The two very most important benefits are that Ferrygateway is one common standard and that it embraces all important products and services that ferry operators may wish to sell online.
The benefits can be summarized by the following.
- Improved image; the ferry industry can act with one voice and thereby create higher visibility on the travel market. By working together there are greater opportunities for increased business and this will make it possible to create strategic partnership or alliances with major players on the travel market.
- Increased revenue; FerryGateway enables the ferry operators to sell a rich product range through agents. Hence it makes it possible for customers to pre-order the vast majority of the available services and products on-board.
- Easy connectivity; one standard only makes it easier for agents and other partners to connect and brings lower distribution costs for ferry operators, agents and gateway providers. It also means a standardised way to connect to local or regional partners.
- Standard controlled by the ferry industry; some of the power is turned over to the ferry industry instead of being at middlemen. It means that the interest and business of the ferry operators are drivers for development.
FerryGateway is defined, developed, controlled, supported and maintained by the FerryGateway Association and the objective is that FerryGateway will be the only standard replacing all existing ones. In addition there should be no need whatsoever to alter the standard for different purposes.
The background to FerryGateway is that many Ferry companies experienced difficulties to reach out with their offerings to customers that are using different kinds of agent channels to search for ferry travel. The existing standards like Unicorn have too many limitations and the standard has also been partly diluted throughout the years with dialects as a result. This has also ended up with many in-house built solutions that even more have increased the complexity and the cost for maintenance and development.
Another important factor is that the Ferry operators want to be in control over the standard rather than leaving that responsibility to middlemen or other organisations. It is also a fact that the Ferry industry needs to act more intensively as one Business thereby attracting major players in the travel market to cooperate and market the Ferry option as a true choice for leisure travel.
The development of the standard is driven by the members of the FerryGateway Association and their commercial and technical resources. FerryGateway is a commercial initiative with business objectives. It will of course have to be technically implemented in systems with Ferry operators, Gateway providers and Agents and it is an absolute target that FerryGateway will become the overall accepted and common standard in the market place in the future.