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tramscape
04-08-2014, 11:28
Marketing, in its wide definition, is the oxygen which sustains every business. Some need a standard amount - other businesses in intensive care need more (even if they can't afford it). Some businesses even get along well on reputation ........ especially if they have little direct competition

Waverley, we believe, covers her direct costs pretty nicely, but not the annual £ 300 k + of office overheads. We are led to believe that these cannot really be cut by much. The accounts also show an amount for "Sales and Marketing" which is possibly now in the region of £ 300 k per annum

The question now is - Does Waverley really need such a large budget for Sales and Marketing ?

We have discussed one element of marketing very frequently - fitting the "product" to perceived market requirements. We have also commented on the quality and availability of advertising materials. We have also discussed "direct sell" to companies with groups (such as coach tours)

However I say this :

Waverley appears to have little difficulty selling out at weekends - indicating that marketing reach has been good and there is now an established customer base

Waverley has a massive problem selling out midweeks - and gets nowhere near doing so

So, who are the potential customers midweek ?

School holidays : families, tourists, holidaymakers - predominantly "walk-up" trade
Other times as well as school holidays : Retirees, unemployed (possibly) ........ often people using a season ticket of some sort

For this market it is not perhaps customer awareness of the product which is the determining factor - but price or other factors (such as the availability or otherwise of short excursions !)

A sales and marketing budget of £ 300k to the extent it doesn't include office and overheads which might make the actual total more than this, seems a lot and could surely be reduced substantially. A massive cut back on advertising for a product which is well enough known, researchable by those who wish to find sailing details, promoted by any number of unconnected websites, a big support group, currently 2712 facebook friends etc would surely not affect weekend numbers - and a targeting of effort on midweeks would be a better allocation of (reduced) spend. It needn't involve too much spend either - other marketing tools such as price and service have more influence on demand. Clearly there is the need for excellent awareness in local resorts to attract the "walk-up" discretionary customer.

It goes against the accepted wisdom, I know, but it might just be the way to save the operation. Your take ?

Waverleyfan3
04-08-2014, 13:36
Let's look at Thursday sailings from Largs to Brodick with reasonable time ashore as an example. The overall time is just under five hours which would seem to be generally acceptable. There is a vast senior market which appears to be expanding all the time as folk are living longer. However, the cost of a senior return is priced at £25, only two pounds below the normal fare while a family with two children will be charged £81. This is, of course, before they are confronted with on-board pricing and this incidentally would appear to involve "premium" pricing for soft drinks and crisps etc. as well as alcohol. There may or may not be a commentary from a volunteer and "entertainment" generally consists of one guy with an accordion, again a volunteer, who may or may not turn up.
If midweek cruising is to attract a wider audience it would seem to me then that there have to be more incentives including a better deal for seniors, family tickets, and something more to keep the customer entertained, particularly on rain-swept days whether this be music, videos, or local product tasting etc.
I find it difficult to be objective about Lancefield Quay costs without knowing how many are exactly employed there these days. Newspaper advertising is certainly for the most part a waste of money. I find it incredulous that FULL page ads appear regularly in the Evening Times (Glasgow and Clyde areas). I recently asked one Largs newsagent friend how many copies of the Times he sold. His reply was half a dozen on a good day. Local papers are still important but most will carry Waverley info in their news columns if they are furnished with it.

tramscape
03-25-2015, 12:52
I received my copy of PW219 (Spring 215) today

It included part 2 of Jeremy Gold's report "Managing Waverley in the 21st Century"

It was dedicated to the marketing operation, the channels used and how they were followed-up / monitored and gave some information about the costs of each "route" to market

I know that some people have taken issue with the marketing and its perceived effectiveness but at least we can see here that the marketing plan does go into quite minute detail and cover a broad spectrum of marketing methods. There is no doubt that WEL are well aware of the things that there are to consider doing and a lot of time appears to be spent on this - and by relatively few people.

Marketing is, of course, essential - but it still represents a big cost and it would appear a great deal of work for a small organisation. It is perhaps inevitable with Waverley spread so thinly now over non-Clyde sailing areas that the costs of marketing in these areas are relatively high

Anyway, there is no way anyone can say that WEL don't know what they are doing ............. but as has been said before, it could be that the costs of winning "marginal" business in peripheral markets is becoming rather too expensive and complicated for such a small operation (ie one ship, only in your area for a very short time)

To answer WF3 musings, it seems like it is one person and one part-timer plus lots of work by the CEO at LQ. The newspaper advertising budget appears very high (in relation to other channels) but is, for the moment at least, persisted with despite the understanding of its weaknesses

Waverleyfan3
03-25-2015, 15:22
I received my copy of PW219 (Spring 215) today

It included part 2 of Jeremy Gold's report "Managing Waverley in the 21st Century"

It was dedicated to the marketing operation, the channels used and how they were followed-up / monitored and gave some information about the costs of each "route" to market

I know that some people have taken issue with the marketing and its perceived effectiveness but at least we can see here that the marketing plan does go into quite minute detail and cover a broad spectrum of marketing methods. There is no doubt that WEL are well aware of the things that there are to consider doing and a lot of time appears to be spent on this - and by relatively few people.

Marketing is, of course, essential - but it still represents a big cost and it would appear a great deal of work for a small organisation. It is perhaps inevitable with Waverley spread so thinly now over non-Clyde sailing areas that the costs of marketing in these areas are relatively high

Anyway, there is no way anyone can say that WEL don't know what they are doing ............. but as has been said before, it could be that the costs of winning "marginal" business in peripheral markets is becoming rather too expensive and complicated for such a small operation (ie one ship, only in your area for a very short time)

To answer WF3 musings, it seems like it is one person and one part-timer plus lots of work by the CEO at LQ. The newspaper advertising budget appears very high (in relation to other channels) but is, for the moment at least, persisted with despite the understanding of its weaknesses

I have not read Paddle Wheels (maybe it's time I did). As I have said before, I am intensely interested in marketing. I visited Lancefield Quay in mid-January and met all four members of the CEO's staff collectively for the first time. I have now vastly changed some of my once-held opinions and consider that you are perfectly correct in observing that "there is no way anyone can say that WEL don't know what they are doing." Some, of course, chastise them and obviously think they can do better...that will always be the way. My hope now is that they don't become disillusioned and stick around.

tramscape
03-25-2015, 16:19
I have not read Paddle Wheels (maybe it's time I did). As I have said before, I am intensely interested in marketing. I visited Lancefield Quay in mid-January and met all four members of the CEO's staff collectively for the first time. I have now vastly changed some of my once-held opinions and consider that you are perfectly correct in observing that "there is no way anyone can say that WEL don't know what they are doing." Some, of course, chastise them and obviously think they can do better...that will always be the way. My hope now is that they don't become disillusioned and stick around.

Yes, I think the bigger issues are the strategic direction on one hand and the micro-management of customer service on the other

David Kells' new report indicates that the latter is still being looked at and that on-board reorganisation of duties are intended to help in this respect

tramscape
03-25-2015, 22:26
I guess the report only covered advertising which as we know is really only the tail end of the marketing process !

Maybe we get more in the next edition ! That would certainly be revealing !

gillonf
03-25-2015, 23:02
some of the unusual " ruby anniversary " cruises in late June

have a suspicious resemblance to those of the Largs and Kyles steam

packet Co ---testing the ground Did you have a hand in this Gordon ?

tramscape
03-25-2015, 23:46
Ha ! Nice one, Gillon, but not guilty m'lord !

However time is revealing that this board has a kind of prophetic nature to it - and many suggestions here actually come to pass. I was reminded of this only today when reading Paddle Wheels and the bit about how WEL have now got the ship trade-marked etc etc. This was one issue championed strongly by one of our ex-members through this and his other channels some time ago

Nevertheless, good ideas are there to be picked up on (no fee required). That's what we are here for

I cannot imagine that the full scope of the Largs & Kyle or the Helensburgh & Firth of Clyde would be adopted though - unless turkeys really do vote for Christmas * .......... but hold on, maybe someone from PSPS Council is out in the Netherlands looking over de Majesteit as we speak !

* please note that this is a pun commonly used in the English language. No inferences or offence intended

Waverleyfan3
03-26-2015, 00:16
The timings of the Thursday Ruby Anniversary cruise to Arran in late June would seem to be to accommodate the PSPS evening charter which this year takes in the rather unlikely venues of Kilcreggan and Dunoon en route from Greenock to Loch Striven. I wonder if the 500 plus passengers from Largs and Millport on the PSPS charter in the past two years will be repeated. Maybe the Council is indeed in the Netherlands to recruit some of those
deMajesteit lovelies to spice up Loch Striven.

France Fenwick
03-26-2015, 08:50
It is fortunate that PSPS members were aware of the possible importance of the trade mark as it was left to them at not a little personal expense some years ago to take on the trade mark to safeguard it until such time as it could be put to good use in the interest of the ship. I understand that during the time in their possession there were others who were anxious to secure it for their own commercial purposes which I am sure would be for purposes other than assisting the vessel.

tramscape
03-26-2015, 22:27
Whilst I read a bit in the report about sailing bills and A4 posters in shop windows I can't recall reading about billboards - yes, the big ones you see by roadsides as you drive past

They are actually much cheaper than you might expect and for a decent location might cost on average around £ 200 per week

Now, in my view the ship's biggest selling point is its visibility. A striking view will perhaps persuade people to say .........."What was that ?"

Stuck away at Pacific Quay Waverley is well hidden from view - but if she was on a billboard - big, bold and bright - she would be seen by thousands daily - and by car owners and maybe their families too

The right photo with Waverley bathed in sunlight with a blue sky and a bright green hillside backdrop would be mighty impressive on a large bill board

So, say a 20-week advertising campaign running up to and during the season on a major road going into Glasgow might cost £ 5000 (or less)

Now, we read that around £ 100 k is spent annually on adverts stuck somewhere inside local press journals which apparently fewer and fewer people read and maybe not particularly penetrating the important audience of the young, prosperous and upwardly mobile. Also, it seems a complicated business designing a range of adverts and negotiating with a range of publishers - all at the cost of important time and energy

So, with that money, 20-week billboards could be rented at 20 strategic locations around Glasgow with potentially a million or two people seeing ...... and potentially being impressed

Seems a good idea to me - but it's not for me to say. If anyone reading this is involved with the Waverley organisation, they might like to run with it .......... and as for me, well I can assure you, I won't be buying and flicking through a copy of the Evening Times on the offchance ...........

DOUG
03-27-2015, 07:52
Interesting suggestion re use of billboards. We actually used these extensively in the Glasgow area in our first season in 1975. They were a powerful and very visible source of advertising.

tramscape
03-27-2015, 10:00
Interesting, Douglas. I was not aware of that (although I was briefly in Glasgow in 1975 !) and re-reading TS's piece in the new WSN history I can't see that it got a mention

Was there any particular reason why it was discontinued ? I can imagine it might have been relatively expensive at the time

Waverleyfan3
03-27-2015, 14:58
Interesting suggestion re use of billboards. We actually used these extensively in the Glasgow area in our first season in 1975. They were a powerful and very visible source of advertising.

Yes I do recall that Douglas. If memory serves me correct, time-tables were also pushed through the doors of lots of people in targetted areas around Glasgow. The first Waverley Times was actually produced by PSPS members in 1977, was editionalised for Glasgow and Ayr, and sold for 10p. Marketing has inevitably changed but some of the old techniques remain worthy of scrutiny.

DOUG
03-27-2015, 16:48
Yes, you are right John. You will be interested to learn that the PSPS are currently looking at the possibility of resurrecting WAVERLEY TIMES for the 40th Anniversary season.
And the billboard posters were repeated (I think) into the 1976 season Gordon but I suspect as you correctly surmise, costs must have escalated and they were discontinued. Pity really as they were very eye-catching.

deanwood5
03-27-2015, 17:04
We have locally very large DIGITAL 'Billboards' which rotate several pictures or adverts. One is placed at a set of traffic lights and inevitably you turn to look at it as you are waiting.Very eye catching and a great suggestion from Tramscape. Do something different and you will get different(better) results..... As for Waverley Times I think it's a no brainer. Should be on sale every year. £1 a copy with a couple of hundred sold daily would rake in five grand a month and would keep Derek busy.....

Waverleyfan3
03-27-2015, 18:14
I am well aware that the ressurection of Waverley Times is a possibility this year. I have been in touch with the person eager to take on this task and he has my full co-operation.

Waverleyfan3
04-02-2015, 13:40
693

Gordon...it's this one.

tramscape
04-02-2015, 23:37
Talking bout marketing - or at least office "effort", can anyone tell me why, when you book tickets on line, paper tickets are printed off at LQ, put into envelopes and mailed to you ?

Surely they can let us print our own tickets like airline boarding passes ?

OK, they will have to have a system to handle bar/QR codes and readers at the gangways/on-board - but this is standard technology nowadays isn't it ?

Waverleyfan3
04-03-2015, 00:44
Talking bout marketing - or at least office "effort", can anyone tell me why, when you book tickets on line, paper tickets are printed off at LQ, put into envelopes and mailed to you ?

Surely they can let us print our own tickets like airline boarding passes ?

OK, they will have to have a system to handle bar/QR codes and readers at the gangways/on-board - but this is standard technology nowadays isn't it ?

Don't know the answer, but according to the latest FOW newsletter The Funnel which arrived today a new ticketing system will shortly come on-line. FOW apparently has more than 500 new members.

tramscape
04-03-2015, 01:02
Don't know the answer, but according to the latest FOW newsletter The Funnel which arrived today a new ticketing system will shortly come on-line. FOW apparently has more than 500 new members.

Good. One was mooted a while back and the PW report into marketing suggested that it took an eternity to build in all the available cruises (ie dates and legs) and presumably the timings and prices for each

Business simplification - my mantra, as is well known !

Drydock
04-03-2015, 09:53
WEL has been soliciting advance bookings, as it does every year, by making the representation "Book before 31st March at last years prices". This obviously helps cash flow but more importantly the statement gives rise to the one and only inference that on 1st April fares will increase. As happens every year the fares have not increased. It is possible today to purchase a ticket at the same price as when tickets first became available and this will no doubt continue for some time. If has the appearance of a confidence trick - irregular, unprofessional, unethical, dishonest and unlawful. If any high street trader did the same thing he would be reported to the appropriate authority. I have decided that enough is enough and this year WEL's blatant and persistent contempt for consumer protection legislation should be investigated by the Trading Standards Officer for Glasgow.

tramscape
04-03-2015, 11:34
Does anyone remember how it happened when there last was a price increase ?

A brief look indicates that the on-line prices appear to be the same as last year's Sailing Booklet prices - so if prices are to be going up, new prices should have been loaded onto the computer on Tuesday night

So, either they are not going up or there is no way just to copy and paste new prices to a data file which the booking system reads. heaven help them if the prices are really hard-written to each potential booking page !

They really should have said ..... book now to guarantee that fares will be no higher than 2014 levels ......... a bit like holiday companies often used to do. One word would have eliminated potential different interpretation by the reader of what the writer really meant. A simple change for next year

They have already come a costly cropper on one pricing issue recently - I hope that this is not going to be another - but Drydock has a very good point

Waverleyfan3
04-03-2015, 14:12
http://cdn.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/word/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Clyde.pdf

tramscape
04-03-2015, 15:05
The prices look to be the same as last year - on the Clyde anyway

tramscape
04-03-2015, 15:45
Just to clarify - there are two on-going appeals - both for £ 110 k

WEL : for hull wash/repaint, deckhouse repaint (scumble ??) and boiler repairs

PSPS : masts, deck repairs and contingency fund cash

John - I don't know if this is clear to the facebook groups, but they read as if people think that it is £ 110 k only. Of course one of the appeals is PSPS members only so will not be widely known in a public forum ........... but it has been published in a journal which is seen by others than members

The point about this is that PSPS as the owners/main backers are doing just as much ......... and over time, more to continuously pump money into WSN. Therefore the level of support needed is greater than some might expect !

PS - John, I see you have an interesting new group member on one of the boards ! Glee club no more, perhaps !

Waverleyfan3
04-03-2015, 15:50
I haven't examined every fare in detail but would regard any ultimate decision not to put up fares as a bonus ..but hey ho maybe I should start carping at some of the local filling stations who maybe are getting their petrol supplies at last year's prices. As for Easter Eggs, well prices seem to be being maintained though the content appears to be on the wane. Anyway I've got my FOW Clyde season which has risen substantially in price but is still a bargain unless one's sea legs go somewhere along the line or the boiler blows up!!!

tramscape
04-03-2015, 15:53
Did you see my amendment / addition to post 26, amended after you posted your last ?

It depends on when WEL "bought" their fuel, but there should be some improvement to the bottom line this year - and next year too if they buy forward now

engineman
04-03-2015, 16:12
Just to clarify - there are two on-going appeals - both for £ 110 k

WEL : for hull wash/repaint, deckhouse repaint (scumble ??) and boiler repairs

PSPS : masts, deck repairs and contingency fund cash

John - I don't know if this is clear to the facebook groups, but they read as if people think that it is £ 110 k only. Of course one of the appeals is PSPS members only so will not be widely known in a public forum ........... but it has been published in a journal which is seen by others than members

The point about this is that PSPS as the owners/main backers are doing just as much ......... and over time, more to continuously pump money into WSN. Therefore the level of support needed is greater than some might expect !

PS - John, I see you have an interesting new group member on one of the boards ! Glee club no more, perhaps !

I would think that the amount of money that gift aid makes them would be used for any repairs at 25% it will be a tidy sum

tramscape
04-03-2015, 16:38
I would think that the amount of money that gift aid makes them would be used for any repairs at 25% it will be a tidy sum

Regrettably, all income including Gift Aid is not enough - hence the appeals

The situation is made worse by a serious issue surrounding Gift Aid

engineman
04-03-2015, 16:50
Regrettably, all income including Gift Aid is not enough - hence the appeals

The situation is made worse by a serious issue surrounding Gift Aid

So the business is running every year at a loss whats the issue with the gift aid

Waverleyfan3
04-03-2015, 16:55
John, I see you have an interesting new group member on one of the boards ! Glee club no more, perhaps !

There are always some interesting people who know how boilers should be fixed and ships should be managed. Internet groups and forums have opened up an entire new world for them. And why not...but dearie me it can get a bit tedious. Talking of which, isn't all this General Election stuff exciting.

tramscape
04-03-2015, 17:11
So the business is running every year at a loss whats the issue with the gift aid

The business runs at a big loss yearly - some years greater than others

We have not been told exactly what the issue with Gift Aid is although we know the financial consequences. You might recall the discussions which have taken place on this board regarding Gift Aid and the rules for eligibility. That might have something to do with it - or it might be something else

Waverleyfan3
04-03-2015, 17:12
....meant to say that I like the Frankie Gradders bit though. Has he been re-invented as a pop star??

engineman
04-03-2015, 17:19
The business runs at a big loss yearly

So they rely on donations how can a business survive doing that

tramscape
04-03-2015, 17:24
So they rely on donations how can a business survive doing that

Like any other charity, museum etc

As our member Geoff will surely corroborate, such a "business" went out of business in the 1960s ...... and if truth be told, was not even profitable in the 1860s

if you want something like Waverley - you gotta pay for it ! It's really only just a hobby

Not much different in principle from a group of people clubbing together to buy a yacht or cabin cruiser

tramscape
04-03-2015, 21:04
Reading the last WSN/WEL accounts summary there really should be the need for an appeal, this year at least - and if the positive noises from WEL on their financial performance are anything to go by, then definitely not. However, there may be a reason ........ after all

billsea
04-10-2015, 18:08
Why doesnt the Waverley start to sail at easter they have missed the good weather this week

DOUG
04-10-2015, 18:17
Because the weather is usually cold , wet and miserable! And then the ship would need to be laid up until end of May, adding cost.

billsea
04-10-2015, 18:25
why has she got to be laid up until the end of may when she as been laid up all winter

Waverleyfan3
04-10-2015, 19:53
why has she got to be laid up until the end of may when she as been laid up all winter

She has to go into drydock and most dates at Garvel until late April appear to be "taken" by CalMac.

tramscape
04-10-2015, 20:19
...... and there would be no business yielding anything like break-even on any day except perhaps a very fine weekend

As we know, even weekdays in high summer don't cover her costs except in rare occasions