The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has launched a new-look website.
The site offers a more user-friendly experience for passengers and features several enhancements to the previous site.
The Steam Packet Company listened to and implemented where possible feedback from passengers about the old website and asked users to assist in the development of the new site.
• A more streamlined booking process that first presents available sailings on the outward and inward routes selected before then offering alternatives.
• A ‘shopping basket’ system on the right-hand side of the screen, allowing users to see exactly what they have selected
• The ability to book multiple motorcyclists and their bikes on a single booking, which will be of particular benefit to groups travelling to the TT or MGP.
• Special offers and other information tailored to whether you live on, or off-Island
• An updated, easier-to-read sailing timetable, that allows you to select and save sailing information within customised date ranges
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We’ve tried to address as much of the feedback about the existing site as we could, while recognising that for the time being the website is interacting with the existing reservation system. So there were limitations on the changes that we could make at this time.
‘One issue we were keen to focus on was the number of options presented to a passenger when they enter dates for sailings. For example, the old site would offer a combination of dates and routes, sometimes up to 20 sailing combinations, and it was up to the customer to ensure they were selecting the correct combination for the desired outward and return sailings. The new system simplifies the process, by offering exactly what you have asked for when available – and then, below, it still offers you the chance to widen your options. As before, the system will automatically present you with the cheapest fare available, but for those passengers who require a ticket with maximum flexibility, the option to select the standard fare is also available.
‘The new “shopping basket” feature should make the booking process much simpler for customers. It will keep a running total of what you have requested, including extras such as cabins or seats in our premium lounges. There will be no hidden fees – we do not charge for using debit cards, and there are no luggage charges. The price you see on the screen is the price you pay. For those paying by credit card, there is a small £3 charge per booking, but that is a one-off payment per booking, and not per person per leg of journey, as some operators impose on their customers.’
The new homepage features offers, but these will be tailored to where you live. The site will pick up the IP address of the computer you are using and show relevant offers. For example, if you live in the Isle of Man, the offers and information will relate to travelling off the Island, such as city breaks in the UK or Ireland; if you live off-Island, they will relate to breaks in the Isle of Man. There is also the option to change your setting should the website pick up your IP address incorrectly.
Meanwhile, much of the existing information has been retained and in some cases enhanced, such as reliability statistics and details about vessels and ports.
‘We believe the new-look site presents information in a more appealing way,’ said Mr Woodward. ‘The format is flexible, allowing us to make any changes quickly, and we’re confident that our passengers will find the new booking process far more streamlined.
‘We view this as the first step in the development of the website and will be building on that in the future. As with most websites, it will remain a work-in-progress and we welcome all constructive feedback as to how we can incorporate further improvements.’
The new-look website will use the same address – www.steam-packet.com
Due to the way in which servers refresh, the new site should be available almost immediately on the Island, but may take some hours to become available further afield. This delay will be more limited in the UK.