Ryanair to target business travellers in 2014 – to doubt it has the right network of business destinations
Date added: January 23, 2014
Ryanair has announced plans to target business travellers in 2014, with a new “business product” coming in the next few weeks, and the appointment of a dedicated sales leader. They will be adding a new section to their website for groups and corporate travellers, and will offer them flexible tickets, reserved seating and fast-track through selected airports. Ryanair hopes to muscle into this market, offering lower charges to those travelling on business. However, critics in the field of buying business travel say Ryanair must start flying to more business destinations if they’re going to make a “serious dent” in the corporate travel market. At present Ryanair is at a disadvantage because from London it only operates out of Stansted and does not fly to many business destinations. There are not many frequent UK business travellers who will fly from Stansted. Until Ryanair have good networks and business destinations, they are unlikely to make a serious dent in the corporate market. Ryanair has copied easyJet, which got the idea of getting into business travel first. They have been “getting rather jealous” of it. However, a commentator experienced in buying business travel commented that easyJet now have a “good business product, especially with the adding of new routes to Brussels, Paris and Moscow.” Ryanair will have a struggle to catch up.
GTMC questions Ryanair’s move to target business travel
20 Jan 2014 (Buying Business Travel)
Ryanair must start flying to more business destinations if they’re going to make a “serious dent” in the corporate travel market, according to GTMC chief executive Paul Wait.
Speaking to BBT about Ryanair’s expansion plans, Wait said the airline is at a disadvantage because from London it only operates out of Stansted and doesn’t fly to many business destinations.
“There aren’t many frequent UK business travellers who will fly from Stansted, so in essence that has to change first, he said.
“Until they’ve got good networks and business destinations, I just don’t see them making a serious dent in the corporate market, and it will take more than a new sales person for this to happen,” he added.
Wait also said the move might be due to Easyjet’s “very successful” move into this sector. “Ryanair might have been looking at Easyjet’s model and getting rather jealous,” said Wait.
“However, I don’t feel Easyjet is regarded as a low-cost carrier anymore. They’re a very efficient airline and now have a good business product, especially with the adding of new routes to Brussels, Paris and Moscow. So from a business travel perspective they’re definitely not a rival.”
No-frills airline Ryanair plans to target business travellers in 2014, with a new “business product” coming in the next few weeks, and the appointment of a dedicated sales leader.
A ‘Groups’ section has been added to their website and customers will soon be able to access flexible tickets, reserved seating and fast-track through selected airports.
Ryanair has also appointed Lesley Kane as its head of groups and corporate travel, previously head of sales and marketing Europe.
Chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “2014 is set to be a very exciting year for all groups and business passengers as Ryanair’s entry into these markets will significantly lower their costs of travel.
“‘We’re pleased to appoint Lesley Kane as Ryanair’s head of groups and corporate travel. Her extensive knowledge of sales and marketing, combined with her considerable experience from her time as head of Ryanair Direct will ensure the successful implementation of Ryanair’s new service improvements.”
Kane added: “I look forward to rolling out Ryanair’s new groups and business product offering in early 2014.”
Ryanair will launch a new service for business travellers in the coming weeks.
The carrier also said yesterday that it had appointed Lesley Kane as its new head of groups and corporate travel. She was previously head of European sales and marketing at the airline.
Ryanair is in the process of reinventing itself as it tries to lure more families and corporate travellers. The airline’s boss, Michael O’Leary, said in November that the new business products would include flexible fares that will allow business passengers to alter flight times and dates as part of their ticket price in the event that their schedule changes.
“Once we have identified that you are a business passenger flying with us, you might have a flex-fare option that would include features like fast-track through airport security, reserved seating and checked-in bags all built into the seat price,” he said at the time. “The key feature will be that you will be able to change the flights and the timings if your meetings change.”
Ryanair has also just launched a new ‘groups’ section on its website. The airline said the option would be of particular use to the likes of schools and sports clubs.
The carrier is poised to open more than 20 new routes from Ireland this year. Later this year it will begin receiving the first deliveries from an order for 175 aircraft it placed with Boeing in 2013.
In an interview with the ‘Sunday Independent’ this week, Mr O’Leary said Ryanair was working with Google as the internet giant plans to launch a new price comparison service.
“We’ll be sharing the Ryanair pricing through all of the Google outlets, so when you go in, there’ll be route selections, cheapest prices and so on. Google are developing a price-comparison thing themselves,” said Mr O’Leary.
“They want to launch with us and we’re working with them on that kind of product.”
RYANAIR LAUNCHES GROUPS & CORPORATE TRAVEL SERVICE
LESLEY KANE APPOINTED HEAD OF GROUPS & CORPORATE TRAVEL
15.1.2014 (Ryanair press release)
Ryanair, Europe’s favourite low fares airline, today (15 Jan) launched a new Groups & Corporate Travel service and announced it has appointed Lesley Kane (who moves from Head of Sales & Marketing Europe) as its Head of Groups & Corporate Travel, as it actively targets the group and business travel markets in 2014.
Customers can now access a “Groups” section on the homepage of the new and improved Ryanair.com website, which will be followed by a new business product (to be unveiled in the coming weeks) with flexible tickets, reserved seating and fast-track through selected airports, as Ryanair opens over 20 new routes from Ireland, and over 150 new routes from UK airports in 2014.
The launch of Ryanair “Groups” will be of significant interest to all travelling groups including schools, sports clubs and all other large party organisers and with more than 1,600 daily flights, connecting 186 destinations across 30 countries, both groups and business travellers will save time and money thanks to Ryanair’s Groups & Corporate Travel products.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“2014 is set to be a very exciting year for all groups and business passengers as Ryanair’s entry into these markets will significantly lower their costs of travel. We’re pleased to appoint Lesley Kane as Ryanair’s Head of Groups & Corporate Travel. Her extensive knowledge of sales and marketing, combined with her considerable experience from her time as Head of Ryanair Direct will ensure the successful implementation of Ryanair’s new service improvements.”
Ryanair’s Lesley Kane said:
“I look forward to rolling out Ryanair’s new groups and business product offering in early 2014. Ryanair is continually improving our customer service and has received numerous requests from group organisers and corporate businesses to develop and launch these new exciting products. From early 2014, groups and business customers will be able to enjoy the added benefits of our tailored products, which will support Ryanair’s passenger growth to over 110 million passengers by 2019.”
One banker said: “Already when you travel economy, as we generally do for short-haul flights, whether it’s British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, you do find it a slightly unexciting experience. But if you’re on Ryanair, it’s a drag.
“It’s the effort required to go through, and the large number of guys in shorts drinking beer in the airport and spilling it over your suitcase. You do feel out of place, so it’s a bit awkward.”
Sam Johar, chairman of headhunter Buchanan Harvey, said he had tried low-cost airlines when travelling for work but would not use Ryanair or easyJet again.
On his last attempt to fly easyJet, he said he was denied boarding. Staff told him he had to find a plastic bag to put his two small cases if they were to meet the single item hand baggage rule. He spent the night in a hotel.
Mr Johar said: “If you have a half-decent business, frankly you don’t want to be bothered by all this nonsense. You have better things to think about, and more financially rewarding things to think about, than saving €100.”
Ryanair wants a bigger slice of the market because business travellers are worth more than leisure ones. The introduction of Business Plus is part of its plan to lift its passenger numbers to 120m by the end of the decade, up about half on the 86m flown in the past year.
Easyjet launches new fare for business travellers to attract more – already around 10 million per year
Easyjet wants to make further inroads into the corporate market with the launch of a new “inclusive fare”, which will not be available directly from its website. The new fare is designed for corporate passengers and travel bookers, and will only be accessible through the aviation industry booking systems. The new fare will include a 20 kg hold bag and seat selection, with Easyjet insisting the overall price will be cheaper than booking the different elements separately. EasyJet says this fare “will help us to compete even more effectively with the legacy carriers as well as providing further choice and value for the 10 million-plus corporate travellers (about 10 million in 2012, and 9 million in 2011) who choose to fly Easyjet every year.” Easyjet has been targeting business travellers for several years and has stepped up its efforts in the last 12 months by signing a series of deals with TMCs and corporates around the UK and Europe.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17265..
Earlier news about EasyJet and business passengers:
easyJet to give its business passengers fast track through security
15.5.2013 (EasyJet)EasyJet is hoping to attract increasing numbers of business travellers. They had slightly over 10 million business travellers during 2012, up from around 9 million in 2011 and some 8 million in 2010. (Not all to or from the UK). The total number of easyJet passengers is around 50 million per year, so business is some 18% or so. EasyJet is now planning to offer free fast track through security for business passengers, to attract yet more. EasyJet claims that what business passengers want is low fares, and flexible fares, punctuality, quick boarding, friendly flexible fares, easy booking, allocated seating and fast security. From May 2013 fast track security will be provided to flexi fare passengers at 27 airports amounting to 54% of the airline’s business network and over the coming months will be expanded to more airports across easyJet’s network. Last year the number of business passengers travelling on Eurostar stayed level. In 2012 there were about 5,402,000 business trips made by Brits to Europe, and some 5,852,000 business trips made by overseas residents to the UK (74% of the Brits’ business trips by air, and some 69% of the European business trips)..http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1061
easyJet had 10 million business passengers in 2012, up from 9 million in 2011
Easyjet carried more than 10 million business travellers during 2012. That is compared to around 9 million in 2011 and some 8 million in 2010. The total number of passengers is around 50 million per year, so business is some 18% or so. Easyjet added that it expected to benefit from a deal signed in November to provide flights to employees working in the Scottish public sector for trips between London and Scotland. In September, a year after offering free flights to MPs returning to deal with the summer riots, easyJet was added to the list of preferred airlines for both Houses of Parliament. A deal for one year allows cheaper flights than flag carriers for European flights, and works through the Parliament travel management company Hillgate Travel.
23.7.2011 (Express – City & Business)By Philip WallerNO-frills airline easyJet yesterday forecast profits would take off after more
business travellers used its planes to hop across Europe, sending shares skywards.The Luton-based carrier predicted annual profits of up to £230million, well
ahead of the £174million expected by some brokers, lifting the stock by 55¼p to
368p.EasyJet said business people were taking advantage of its high‑frequency flightsbetween major European cities such as Berlin, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris.The number of business travellers taking its services rose by a fifth in the
three months to June 30 as the impact of new flexi-fares began to kick in.The group said it had sold more than three quarters of its summer seats as people
booked breaks despite the economic gloom.Airline easyJet yesterday forecast profits would take off after more business
travellers used its planesA spokesman said: “While some consumer-facing businesses are having difficulties,
the family holiday is seen as something pretty essential.”EasyJet said revenue for the June quarter grew 23 per cent to £935million, also
boosted by growing ancillary revenues.Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “The strength of easyJet’s trading demonstrates
it is well placed to succeed.”
EasyJet said it carried 14.4 million passengers in the quarter, up 17.3 per cent.
Its load factor – a measure of how full its aircraft were – rose 0.2 percentage
point to 86.3 per cent.
EasyJet’s largest shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has said he may force
a shareholder vote over the airline’s plans to buy new aircraft from Airbus, resuming
a long-running dispute with the company he founded.
Nice try, but Ryanair must do more to win over agents
Business travel agents aren’t the only ones who remain underwhelmed by Ryanair’s decision to make its seats available on GDSs. [Global distribution systems (GDSs) are computerized, centralized services ]
Ryanair announced earlier this month that it was in talks with several GDS and planned to make its fares available on at least one by the summer.
However, when asked in a TravelMole poll if the move was enough to win over agents, almost two-thirds said ‘no’.
Earlier this month, the Guild of Travel Management Companies called on Ryanair to do more to convince members of its commitment to business travellers.
At the time, GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: “Ryanair’s biggest job is convincing the GTMC’s members that it is more than losses that are forcing it to address the business travel sector.”
Ryanair lost €35 million in the first quarter of the year.
Wait said the airline’s decision to sell on GDSs was a move in the right direction but added that travel management companies would remain unconvinced “until they [Ryanair] commit to investing in the products and serviced required by both travel managers and the business travellers themselves”.
Global distribution systems (GDSs) are computerized, centralized services that provide travel-related transactions. They cover everything from airline tickets to car rentals to hotel rooms and more.
Global distribution systems were originally usually set up for use by the airlines but were later extended to travel agents. Today, global distribution systems allow users to purchase tickets from multiple different providers or airlines. Global distribution systems are also the back end of most Internet-based travel services.