The objective of this study is to investigate the market offer of passenger-car ferry services within and from the United Kingdom. The study is approached from the pomt of view of the provider of the ferry service offer. Initially, it seeks to analyse the existing ferry services offered within and from the United Kingdom by the various operators, and subsequently undertakes an empirical investigation based on the appropriate marketing and management theory. The role of the consumer is, of course, crucial to an understanding of the marketing of ferry services. However, this particular study focuses on the supply of the ferry offer, and may be seen as complementary to earUer studies of ferry consumers and benefits sought. A comparison of on-board facilities and services on 70 ferries operating in the UK in 1994 resulted in the development of a basehne model explaining differences between services according to a wide range of criteria. This led to the development of a conceptual model of the ferry service offer using concepts from services marketing and corporate culture theory. Using cluster analysis it was concluded that the ferry service offer can be described in terms of core, augmented, and inter-product levels. In addition to these three ferry service offer levels the preferred service provider of each particular ferry service element has been identified. Using multiple discriminant analysis it was concluded that the augmented ferry service offer can be explained by differences among Miles & Snow corporate culture types (prospectors, analysers, and defenders). Combining these results, this study provides an explanation of the ferry service offer in terms of product level, preferred provider, and dominant corporate culture, which should prove of both practical and theoretical value.

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