Serco NorthLink Ferries has today unveiled its new on board offering as well as a refreshed branding and marketing campaign for its services linking mainland Scotland with the Northern Isles.
This announcement lets Islanders know what they can expect from their lifeline ferry services over the next six years and signals the start of a campaign to encourage more people to visit the Northern Isles.
Residents of Orkney and Shetland now also benefit further with the Islander Card which will entitle them to up to 20 per cent off a range of a range of on board products in addition to the 30 per cent off fares they already receive.
Stuart Garrett, Managing Director of Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “Today is the culmination of our work to modernise and improve the passenger experience from booking to destination.
“We have redesigned several areas within the ferries to make the journey more comfortable for all ages and budgets. We have also revitalised our branding and marketing which we believe will help to encourage more people to visit the Northern Isles.”
At the helm of the campaign is Viking seafarer, Magnus, who will be introduced over the next year as and when signage, uniforms and materials need replaced.
The new marketing campaign features award winning Fair Isle musician and poet, Lise Sinclair’s, poem Fauld Up Da Feddoms. The campaign, Far isn’t Far will encourage mainland residents to visit and enjoy the natural beauty of Orkney and Shetland’s wild outdoors, while experiencing the adventure, history, music and local crafts and food and drink that the Islands have to offer.
The campaign will see mass distribution of NorthLink’s new video online, together with a newsletter to all island households, as well as advertising in national and regional press, outdoor advertising, and social media.
Barbara Foulkes, Orkney’s Island Manager said: “Tourism is vital to our economy so we are absolutely delighted to be working in close partnership with NorthLink to attract more visitors. The Far isn’t Far campaign is using a variety of established marketing channels to grow visitor numbers throughout 2013 – the Year of Natural Scotland. This themed year is particularly relevant to our islands and provides exciting opportunities to showcase our unique natural environment while growing tourism.
VisitScotland’s Islands Manager in Shetland, Steve Mathieson agrees: “Good transport links are essential to our tourist economy so we very much welcome the investment NorthLink are making in their fleet to improve the visitor experience. The marketing campaign will inspire people to visit Orkney and Shetland and they will go home with a very positive story to tell their friends and family. These experiences encourage repeat tourism and have a fantastic long term economic benefit for our islands.”
Transport & Veterans Minister, Keith Brown said: “I am delighted to see further enhancements to the passenger experience being driven forward by NorthLink in the few short months since the award of the new six year contract.
“In addition to a number of new discounts for on board purchases, and the significant fare reductions currently being enjoyed by island residents, we are seeing new enhancements to passenger comfort and passenger entertainment.
“In supporting the islands’ economies, the exciting new marketing campaign will have undoubted benefits in attracting more visitors to the islands to experience the rich and diverse aspects that Orkney and Shetland have to offer.
“I’m heartened to see the new contract is bringing more enhancements for ferry services to the Northern Isles all of which underlines our ongoing commitment to continue to improve all of Scotland’s ferry services.”
The new services are now available on board the Hjaltland and Hrossey Ferries linking Aberdeen with Orkney and Shetland. The redesign includes an overhaul of the catering and entertainment offerings and seating options to better suit today’s travellers.
The forward bar has been renamed the Longship Lounge and includes two new seating areas with reclining seats. The midships bar will serve the same selection of breakfast and dinner deals as the restaurant, now called The Feast.
Not forgetting the young people on board – our younger passengers will be able to enjoy a revamped play area and separate games room. Improved free WiFi will also be available throughout the ships.
Other on-board enhancements include:
- Sleeping pods, including shower access
- Additional seating in the midship bar
- Public showers
- A new premier lounge, Magnus’ Lounge
Customers should visit the website to find out more about the new offer and apply for the new Islander Card.