Direct Ferries expects to see further growth in the coming year as more and more holidaymakers opt to travel by water, particularly while staying overseas.
The niche online retailer, which is available in 26 languages, is seeing double digit growth year-on-year in terms of customer numbers, and currently takes more than 650,000 individual bookings each year.
A total of 90% of the business’s bookings are online, with 21% through mobile. Sales and marketing director, Andrew Crowe, said Direct Ferries now works with 136 operators, compared to 80 in January last year.
He said a large part of Direct Ferries’ success is down to people wishing to use ferries and other water transport abroad.
“That becomes where we add a huge amount of value – incremental rather than substitutional,” he said.
“This is demonstrated by the fact commissions from ferry companies have risen from between 5% and 10% in 2012 to 10% to 20%.”
Direct Ferries announced earlier this month that it has launched the first US ferry travel comparison site, directferries.com, which finds localised deals for the American market.
More than 250,000 bookings have been made by Americans using Direct Ferries’ UK and worldwide sites and the US site will look to capitalise on this growing demand.
While Direct Ferries’ direct business is thriving, 8-10% of it is done through affiliates.In June it was announced that members of the Avios travel rewards programme would be able to access ferry deals in a partnership with Direct Ferries.
Individuals or businesses can join Direct Ferries’ affiliate programme or its private label programme and the company shares commission with travel agents that take part – working out at around 5%.
“We are looking to attract more travel agents and affiliates that want to work with us,” said Crowe.