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Not content with being one of the world’s go-to low-cost carriers — or Europe’s largest airline, based on its passenger totals — Ryanair now wants to help its more than 100 million customers find a cheap place to stay once they get to where they’re going. On Thursday, the Dublin-based airline announced its newest business venture, Ryanair Rooms, which the company described as a “low price accommodation offer” that will take flight October 1.
While the airline already offers its customers a hotel booking option via its current exclusive partnership with Booking.com, this enhanced — and branded — service will, according to a press release, “widen the range of accommodations [the airline] offers to customers,” including hostels, B&Bs, home stays, villas and private rooms. In other words: it’s taking on every major online booking site, not to mention Airbnb and its competitors.
“More and more customers are looking to Ryanair for products other than flights, and we see this as a natural progression towards Ryanair.com becoming the Amazon of air travel,” said Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer. “It also echoes the change in demand from customers for different types of accommodation, which in turn will be reflected by the varied range Ryanair Rooms will offer — from five-star hotel rooms to independent home stays.”
It’s not the first time Ryanair has replaced a partnership with its own branded product. Last year, the airline swapped out Hertz for online brokerage CarTrawler to launch Ryanair Car Hire under what the company calls its “Always Getting Better” program. According to Reuters, Ryanair “plans to mimic Amazon by harvesting detailed customer data to push targeted offers by email and smartphone app in real time.” It’s certainly not keeping that plan a secret. And it’s not stopping at lodging.
In an interview with TravelMole, Jacobs said that events are the next item on the company’s to do list. “We’ve got car hire, we’ve announced Ryanair Rooms and third on our list is events, tours and things to do at the destination, including excursions, restaurant bookings and theater tickets,” he explained. “Holidays would be the fourth on the list. If we did all of those things in 18 months, you would perhaps be surprised, but here at Ryanair we move quite quickly. It might even come sooner.” Here’s hoping for as few hidden fees as possible!
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