Ryanair spends €35m on brand building, to improve image

European low fares carrier, Ryanair, will triple its marketing budget this year in an attempt to improve its budget airline image, which it feels could have estranged customers looking for a higher level of service, Bloomberg has reported.

In 2014, Ryanair will spend about €35m ($48m) on advertising, website improvements and other travel products to target groups and business travellers, chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary, reportedly said in an interview.

As part of Ryanair’s improved online experience, the company has introduced Google Flight Search, which allows customers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the USA to quickly find and compare flights to and from any of Ryanair’s 186 airports in Europe and North Africa, view prices in their local currency and then book these low fares directly with Ryanair.

‘It will be a significant up-weighting in our marketing spend to target across Europe,’ Ryanair’s chief financial officer, Howard Millar, said. ‘What you want to get is a funnel that gets people coming to the website.’

Ryanair receives about 30 million unique visits to its website each month, the CFO said. ‘It will take a period of time before the general consumer and passengers get to see all that and actually see it, touch it and experience it, so it won’t be an overnight success, but it will come very, very quickly’.

‘The low fares industry has evolved,’ Millar said. ‘I think it has evolved more in the last year or two, where it’s just not good enough anymore to offer low fares, you must offer other customer service features.’

According to Ryanair, 2014 will be the first summer that customers have not only been able to enjoy the company’s low fares, but also its recent service improvements, including allocated seating starting next month, a small 2nd carry-on bag, an easier website booking platform and quiet flights, which it says makes Ryanair the ideal choice for family and friends planning their summer 2014 holiday. The company has also signed an agreement with American Express Co. to allow the airline to accept bookings using its credit cards.