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nodwad

New BF Website

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But all the other websites (French, Spanish, Irish) are still in the old format, and presumably all hook into the same databank.

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That's it then. It's taken a long time but at last BF has turned into an identikit corporate. Money wasted on inessentials while the day to day, like say cleaning can go hang. They might like to note that I have just booked to go from StP International to Cahors in May for £75 each way, £300 for the two of us. For the same dates BF want £10 more than that just to take us and the car to Caen - with an extra £55 for a cabin each way.

 Christophe Mathieu n'est pas Alexis Gourvennec

Edited by Millsy
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Quote

But all the other websites (French, Spanish, Irish) are still in the old format, and presumably all hook into the same databank

You could well be right there Gareth although there may be complications. I suppose it depends on whether the 'new' website is essentially just a new front end. Whatever, it certainly seems to have problems in accessing and processing data.

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1 hour ago, Millsy said:

 Christophe Mathieu n'est pas Alexis Gourvennec

Alexis will be turning in his grave at the antics of these latter day buffoons..Not fit to tie his shoe laces..

Edited by Paully
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12 minutes ago, Paully said:

Alexis will be turning in his grave at the antics of these latter day buffoons..Not fit to tie his shoe laces..

Yes, it is not uncommon for a ferry company to lose its way after losing a significant “guiding light”.  Same thing happened (albeit in a different way) to Townsend Thoresen after Keith Wickenden died in 1983.  I think that year pretty much marks the point in time after which a number of key strategic decisions were taken that changed profoundly what the company was about (and which led, ultimately, to its downfall).

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1 hour ago, cvabishop said:

You could well be right there Gareth although there may be complications. I suppose it depends on whether the 'new' website is essentially just a new front end. Whatever, it certainly seems to have problems in accessing and processing data.

I can't recall any other company rolling back their website to an earlier version due to operational problems. It would be an enormous admission of failure and incompetence given the amount of beta testing and feedback they must have done. Having said that, I would imagine the only solution, if the new version really does have a serious flaw, would be to redirect all the UK traffic to the Irish site and make all the route permutations available on that booking engine and at the same time configure it to show prices in both pounds and euros. Ed. 

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10 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

I can't recall any other company rolling back their website to an earlier version due to operational problems. It would be an enormous admission of failure and incompetence given the amount of beta testing and feedback they must have done. Having said that, I would imagine the only solution, if the new version really does have a serious flaw, would be to redirect all the UK traffic to the Irish site and make all the route permutations available on that booking engine and at the same time configure it to show prices in both pounds and euros. Ed. 

Can you recall any companies that have rolled out a new website with this many problems?

I can see huge problems with directing UK traffic through the Irish site.  Quite apart from currency and route issues, there is also pricing, inclusive holidays, t&cs that could complicate.  Why is this a better solution than rolling back to the old UK site?

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If they can roll it back then that obviously makes the most sense until they can get it right. And, no I can't recall any websites with quite so many issues. Ed. 

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So it makes you wonder ,who was the person who made the decision to go live with this so called booking site?also does he/ she still have there job.

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Well, to be fair, I think Millsy has hit the nail on the head.  The website is just one symptom of a much bigger issue to do with BF’s strategic direction and how it wants to sit in the marketplace.  The Big Decision has clearly been to become Big Corporate in the image of the company, and to create distance from the company’s roots and historic reputation for high standards.  Only time will tell whether that was a smart decision or not.  And by the time time has delivered its verdict, any culpability will have long since expired.  Those specifically charged with the website will only have been doing what they were told to do from on high.

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A message from BF (we told you they were watching...)

 

Quote

We recognise that the enthusiasts are our best ambassadors and (rightly) our harshest critics when something goes wrong. And we also appreciate discussions - which we read with interest. But I hope you will allow me to clarify some of the points raised in this particular thread. 

Firstly, we strongly reject the contention that we do not celebrate our roots. We would be nothing without Alexis Gourvennec and the pioneering Breton farmers who still own our business. This is something we never forget. It is also something we celebrate and actively promote. For example, in the latest Voyage Magazine we have an interview with our current president, himself a working farmer, tenacious advocate of the business and man to whom Alexis handed the reins more than ten years ago. 

Secondly, while there is structural change taking place within the business, we know that we must never lose the inclusive, family atmosphere that makes Brittany Ferries such a joyful place to work and (we hope) to experience as a customer. The company has nearly gone under three times in the last 46 years and the current management team has taken positive steps to ensure we are not taken to the wire in the years to come. We cannot continue to be at the mercy of factors outside our control like fuel prices, currency fluctuations and (yes I’m afraid) Brexit. And we can’t have a website that doesn’t work properly on mobile devices - where the vast majority of customers book their holidays!

Regarding strategic direction: change can be uncomfortable, but it is absolutely necessary. Our CEO (to whom I report) is absolutely committed to making sure we remain in business in the next 46 years. That means investment worth around €450 m in three new ships. It also means considering new ideas, changing entrenched was of thinking and – yes – even employing some consultants to help. Forgive me for being defensive (and without wishing to sound Mandy Rice-Davis about this) but Christophe Mathieu is dedicated, committed and extremely hard-working. I can assure everyone reading this thread that the company’s past, present and future is safe in his hands. 

 

Nigel Wonnacott,

Group Head of Communications

 

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Some interesting comments there - and thanks for feeding back to us, Nigel. 

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2 minutes ago, Jim said:

Some interesting comments there - and thanks for feeding back to us, Nigel. 

Seconded.

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Your response is appreciated Nigel. I think it is fair to say that all the regular members of this forum are very much BF supporters and that criticism is usually considered and offered more in sorrow than in anger and hopefully constructively.

Personally, over very many years, I have always found the customer support and direct contact to be exemplary compared with so many other organisations. BF staff do go the extra mile to sort out problems and that is very much appreciated. I have in mind particularly an occasion some years ago when our car was extensively damaged in the French Alps and my family and I had to return to Ouistreham in a hire car and travel back to Portsmouth as foot passengers. BF staff could not have been more helpful in what was for us a traumatic experience.

The new website does appear to be giving rise to some problems with apparent reduced functionality in some areas although I appreciate that getting a consistent front end on different devices can be a real headache. I hope the teething troubles are resolved swiftly.

The moans and groans sometimes expressed on here do reflect the high standards we have come to take for granted from BF and when things appear to slip a little it is all the more noticeable and commented on. Hopefully such comments will be noted and acted upon where appropriate.

Optimistically the Brexit situation will be resolved before too long and things will return to normal but we recognise that  there are of course factors outside BF's control such as the social and industrial unrest in France which impact on the passenger experience and booking levels.

Colin

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Yep one thing is certain BF will die if it doesn’t change with the times, I think the new website does have some good points and some bad points hopefully they will be ironed out in time, as for the other changes they are pretty minor in all honesty and I think they are being made as they need to appeal to a lot more people than just us , BF is still the highlight of my holiday (even if the cabin isn’t spotless) I don’t think I would still be going to France if I didn’t enjoy the sailing experience as much as I do and yes the customer service is second to none.

 

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Quite apart from the content of the response from BF above (which, by the way, I think is a very appropriate and positive response) the fact that they have responded says everything about the class and standards of the company. They want it to be excellent in all respects as we do. I could save a lot of money by travelling from Newhaven at Senior rates (even over Club Voyage rates) - but I don't want to. We know where we are looked after. The occasional (very occasional) surly reaction of a member of staff is rare enough to be commented upon in these columns, and if I was spending my working week away from home doing that job, I am sure that I would have bad mornings sometimes. I'm retired and still have those mornings sometimes!

I do travel by an alternative carrier to Dieppe, Dover or Dunkerque  a couple of times a year, just keeping an eye on the alternatives. 

Edited by rogerpatenall
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21 hours ago, cvabishop said:

Your response is appreciated Nigel. I think it is fair to say that all the regular members of this forum are very much BF supporters and that criticism is usually considered and offered more in sorrow than in anger and hopefully constructively.

Personally, over very many years, I have always found the customer support and direct contact to be exemplary compared with so many other organisations. BF staff do go the extra mile to sort out problems and that is very much appreciated. I have in mind particularly an occasion some years ago when our car was extensively damaged in the French Alps and my family and I had to return to Ouistreham in a hire car and travel back to Portsmouth as foot passengers. BF staff could not have been more helpful in what was for us a traumatic experience.

The new website does appear to be giving rise to some problems with apparent reduced functionality in some areas although I appreciate that getting a consistent front end on different devices can be a real headache. I hope the teething troubles are resolved swiftly.

The moans and groans sometimes expressed on here do reflect the high standards we have come to take for granted from BF and when things appear to slip a little it is all the more noticeable and commented on. Hopefully such comments will be noted and acted upon where appropriate.

 

Optimistically the Brexit situation will be resolved before too long and things will return to normal but we recognise that  there are of course factors outside BF's control such as the social and industrial unrest in France which impact on the passenger experience and booking levels.

Colin

Well said Colin. I too experienced an RTA and BF accommodated family at very short notice and allowed us to switch from a BFE offer to a standard passage days later without further cost.

Edited by jonno

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I know NEX has not yet appeared on the BF website 'fleet finder', presumably because shes not in service at present, but Bretagne has now vanished from both the map and the listing!  (shows on AIS though)

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Just received the usual welcome e-mail for tomorrow nights crossing travelling with bikes, the e-mail has specific info for cyclist which is new.

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The only thing I've noticed that I'm not so keen about is the lack of 'vessel' information when booking. The old website (non mobile version) would always display the vessel you were travelling on which was a nice touch and for those with less knowledge of the routes, or for the routes operating a 2-ship service or indeed during winter refits, it was always nice to see what vessel you were travelling on.

 

I'm surprised this hasn't been raised or did I miss something?

 

Other than that, I like the website. It seems to work well on both my android phone and windows based laptop.

Edited by SimonP

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New website, new logo, what a waste of money. Just got my Welcome Aboard email, I had look at what they have to say about Bretagne, all the pictures and the video are still showing the old logo.  The menus for Les Abers which used to be available on the old site are not now. The French site shows menus, but they are out of date.

Many features of the new website are not nearly as good as I recall on the previous one. The timetables, the booking procedure, so many things are worse.

The fortune spent with management consultants to re brand BF for the future offers nothing to the thousands of unhappy Pont Aven customers.

Whatever happened to the Honfleur ?  I know the shipyard was in trouble but as in the song ...."Why are we waiting ?"  

What a great pity someone at the top thought to change things that worked perfectly well. 

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Didn't realise BF were having so many problems on their "improved" site. This is  a copy of my email to them yesterday.

 

After 4 attempts to book a ferry crossing I'm losing the will to live! I am a Club Voyage member (******) and have booked with you for many years.

 

However, today I even got as far as entering my credit card number and on entering I finished up back on "What route do you want"

Similarly on another attempt entered date of crossing and guess what?

Third time as far as cabin requirements, entered and guess where I ended up?

Last attempt and I got as far as my car registration number. No prizes for where I ended up.

 

What is happening on your site?

 

Ray Wild

 

Tried again this afternoon and still the same. Still I've got until September to sort it out!

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