A tale of two companies and how time isn’t a factor

Object – get thousands of people from Ireland to England and back again

Mode of Transport – Company One: airplane – Company Two: ferry boat

Time of trip – Company One: 1hr 20min (Dublin to London) – Company Two: 3 hours one way

Who’s winning new customers? – Company Two

Surprisingly enough this is exactly what Stena Line, the ferry boat operator, is discovering as they have reported an overall increase of 10% in passenger numbers in February. In the meantime Rynair has been continually embroiled with bad public relations and executive decisions that have trickled down through the company. This has had a drastic effect on it’s bottom line – their passengers.

At one time one wouldn’t have had glowing words for Stena Line as ship conditions, along with the normal Irish Sea behavior, often made for a painful journey. Over the last five years though Stena has been improving their boats and doing their best to make a long journey as pleasant as possible.

Rynair on the other hand has been notorious for their add-on charges and a employee attitude that many have claimed is one where insulting customers is okay. It is this type of attitude you can hear when listening to the response of a Ryanair spokesman

A Rynair spokesman said the airline was unaffected by the Swedish company’s revival. A spokesman said: “Please ignore the ramblings of Stena Lines’s Captain Hook. Ryanair carried more passengers to and from London in February than the entire ferry industry carried on all routes to and from Ireland. Ferry travel is simply for those transporting bullocks.”

Source: The Guardian

In contrast this is what Gunnar Biomdahl, Stena Line chief executive, said in the same Guardian article

“Everybody is talking about it, so there must be an opinion that it is not fun. They have gone the other way when it comes to improvements. We have improved our product.”

Where one company defends its policies by outright attacking not just the company but also the people the other talks about how they have improved – for the customer.

Sure it might be faster to hop a plane and cross the Irish Sea but given the treatment that Ryanair customers are getting one has to wonder if the time savings is worth it in some cases. It is also an interesting case of how doing your best to make your customers comfortable and happy will make a growing number take three hours to get to the same place.