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Published on Friday, June 10, 2016

'Ryanair Holidays' coming soon




Ryanair is looking to set up a holidays division and it could be launched within 18 months.

The airline, which launched Ryanair Car Hire last August and yesterday announced plans for Ryanair Rooms, said it has 'Ryanair Holidays' firmly in mind.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs told TravelMole that Ryanair Holidays was a 'logical step' for the airline, which is looking to become a digital provider of all things travel related.

But he said the next focus is more likely to be on selling events, tours and excursions in the destinations it serves.

"We've got car hire, we've announced Ryanair Rooms, and third on our list is events and tours and things to do at the destination, including excursions, restaurant bookings and theatre tickets," he said.

"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."

He said longer term Ryanair was also looking at other retail opportunities, selling travel-related products like luggage and sun cream.

Expanding on plans for Ryanair Rooms, he said the airline's current partnership with booking.com would come to an end on September 30 and the hotel booking giant would be invited to submit a proposal for the new platform, along with other potential partners.

"We've had a very good relationship with booking.com and they could be very much part of Ryanair Rooms, but it will be a more open platform offering everything from five-star hotels in Vienna to family-owned gites in Brittany," he explained.

He said there were around a dozen obvious players in the accommodation sector who were potential partners.

"You're going to get the usual suspects on the hotel side, there are a few big hostel operators and then you've got the likes of Priceline and airbnb. It's a fairly obvious list of around 12 that we're expecting to come forward," he said.

The initial focus will be on the 33 markets served by Ryanair flights but this could be opened up outside Europe.

Jacobs admitted that in launching an accommodation platform, it would become a potential rival to the companies it is likely to partner with.

"Yes, it's a type of partnership but in some ways you're also trying to do what they do," he said.

He said meanwhile Ryanair Car Hire was also likely to be expanded into other modes of transport, including taxis, trains, and private car hire.

Like the hire car platform, Ryanair Rooms would have a price guarantee, he said.

"If you had said four years ago that Ryanair was going to be selling car hire and accommodation, people wouldn't have believed it, but on the back of the changes we've made in our Always Getting Better programme, and the trust we've built up among customers, we've got our eye on the prize and we're looking to take on more things in the travel space," he added.

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