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Can Ryanair really become an experiential travel brand?

May 2016, by Abigail Taylor, Director

Last year, Ryanair declared the ambition to become the ‘Amazon of travel’ within Europe. As part of their growth strategy to reach 160 million passengers by 2020, they plan to launch a new site that will take on services like TripAdvisor, with offers on accommodation and concerts, as well as flights.

Currently in Year 3 of their ‘Always Getting Better’ charm offensive, Ryanair has seen passenger numbers soar. They’ve successfully shifted from fixing issues, to a much greater forward focus on innovation and digital acceleration. Initiatives in the pipeline include ‘rate my flight’ and an Amazon style ‘one flick payment app.’

However, if Ryanair does eventually pursue its strategy to broaden their horizons, the brand will need to shift its positioning to stand for more than flights. The offer, if delivered successfully, could be the engine behind the delivery of rich and seamless experiences – it’s that ‘linking up’ of flights, accommodation and tickets to a particular concert or sporting event through low cost packages, for example, rather than simply providing lots of separate travel ‘parts’. That’s the value add and the differentiator here – the delivery of high value experiences through a low cost promise.

You never know – Ryanair could team up with partners such as Airbnb. Airbnb are looking to extend their strategy around becoming the complete experiential service proposition – based around ‘living like a local’. Airbnb have hinted at shifting towards a broader travel proposition. You heard it here first…