Hell freezes over – Ryanair heads into social media (and some other tech stuff)
Ryanair – that low-cost airline renowned for not engaging in social media has this morning unveiled a digital marketing strategy including social media.
The first clue came earlier this week when the airline quietly introduced its @Ryanair Twitter page with its first tweet even including a little dig at its own expense.
Ryanair has always shunned social media engagement even famously describing bloggers as “lunatics” to Tnooz editor Kevin May.
The carrier will also remove the reCaptcha feature on its website for individual passengers from November although a statement says it will remain for ‘high volume bookers, screenscrapers, travel agents etc.’.
From the beginning of October Ryanair is making its mobile application free – it has been charging Euro 3 for downloads for the app which has been available since March.
The carrier also plans to redesign its booking flow with a launch date in December and introduce a passenger registration/retention service next summer reducing the time it takes to complete bookings.
According to some reports he also hinted the carrier was prepared to sell via travel agents although today’s announcement makes no mention of travel agents other than the reCaptcha security feature remaining in place.
With an announcement earlier this month that profit may fall short of predictions, perhaps the airline’s more conciliatory overtones will go some way to increasing business.
In today’s statement, O’Leary says:
Our primary focus this winter will be to significantly invest in, and improve, the Ryanair.com website, our mobile platform and our interaction with passengers using social media.
“This winter will also see a rolling programme of development to improve the Ryanair.com website, make it easier for passengers to navigate, quicker for them to locate our all-inclusive price quotes, identify availability of our lower fare promotions and book Ryanair’s great fares for themselves and their families.
These improvements will be accompanied by a new digital marketing strategy which will see Ryanair switch a significant proportion of its marketing budget from old to new media, with a particular focus on mobile and social media platforms.”
Linda Fox is a reporter for Tnooz. For the past six years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.