Ryanair launches complete package holiday service

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has announced the launch of its package holiday service, ‘Ryanair Holidays’, offering its customers flights, accommodation and transfer packages on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair has partnered with Spain-based tour operator Logitravel and accommodation provider World2Meet to create ‘Ryanair Holidays.’ The service is being offered in the UK, Ireland and Germany starting December 1 and in other markets in 2017.

Commenting on the launch, Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Ryanair’s low fares transformed air travel in Europe and now we’re going to transform the package holiday market with the launch of ‘Ryanair Holidays’, offering our customers the unbeatable combination of Ryanair’s low fares, a wide range of accommodation options and transfers – all on the Ryanair.com website and all at the lowest prices.

‘Consumers have been paying too much for package holidays for years and more and more want to put their own packages together themselves. Ryanair customers already enjoy the biggest route network in Europe and with ‘Ryanair Holidays’ can choose from a fantastic range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels throughout the Mediterranean and Europe’s capital cities, ideal for last minute getaways, summer family holidays, winter sun or city breaks.

‘Following the launch of Ryanair Car Hire and Ryanair Rooms, even more customers are coming to Ryanair for services and products other than flights, and this is another significant step on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel. ‘Ryanair Holidays’ offers full consumer protection, is fully ATOL bonded and insured, and won’t be beaten on price. So before you go on holiday, you only have to visit one place – Ryanair.com.’

Logitravel’s Tomeu Bennasar said: ‘Our team has worked hard to develop the package holidays application for Ryanair and we are very satisfied with the result – a usable interface with a wide range of hotels and vacation products to be booked seamlessly with the flight, under one price and which is 100% customisable by each customer. Without a doubt, this will be a new Ryanair service that its clients will enjoy using.’

World2Meet Chief Commercial Officer, Mark Nueschen, said: ‘For us, the partnership agreement is excellent news. We are convinced that our extensive experience in destination assistance and hotel contracting will be a fundamental part of the success of this project.’

‘Ryanair Holidays’ comes after the introduction of Ryanair Car Hire and Ryanair Rooms and is the latest digital innovation delivered by Ryanair Labs under the ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, the airline said.

Ryanair introduces city travel section

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has introduced a new city travel section on the Ryanair.com website, offering customers a complete guide to each of Ryanair’s 186 destinations.

The new Ryanair guides include hotel, accommodation and dining listings; recommended things to see and do; nightlife and shopping guides; maps and general city information; flight, fares and airport information; car hire, parking and transfer services; and downloadable PDF guides to each destination.

Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Ryanair.com attracts 4m visitors every day making it Europe’s favourite travel website, and we are continuing to improve its usability and content. We are pleased to introduce these city guides, offering our customers information on the 186 exciting places we fly to in Europe and North Africa, which include hotel, dining and sightseeing information, making Ryanair.com the number one destination for travellers. This is part of our ongoing commitment to keep improving the digital experience and we see destination content as an exciting part of how the Ryanair.com platform will develop.’

The travel guides come after Ryanair recently revamped its website to include features such as ‘Fare Finder’, where customers can find and book the lowest fares by price point, route and travel period; the ‘Share the Fare’ feature, which enables customers to share the airfares with friends and family on social media; as well as interactive timetables, listing the available flights by departure time in a month on a selected route, making it easier for travellers to plan journeys.

Customers can also use the new route map, listing every Ryanair destination by departure airport, and the lowest available fares and routes.

Ryanair said that over two million Ryanair customers have already signed up to the ‘My Ryanair’ registration facility, which allows customers to create their own personal profile and store their details for faster bookings and check-ins.

According to the latest World Airline Transport Statistics by IATA (International Air Transport Association), Ryanair carried more international passengers than any other airline, carrying nearly 81.3m international passengers last year. While the latest ONS (Office of National Statistics) figures showed that air fares in the UK increased by 20 percent last month, Ryanair claimed that its average fare declined by four percent last year.


Airbnb tops traditional travel providers in online user experience

Relative newcomer Airbnb is ahead of traditional travel providers such as Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook in providing a first class digital user experience, according to independent research by user experience agency Webcredible.

The research followed a preliminary survey of over 500 British travel buyers, which found that 85% prefer to book their holidays online. Of these, 60% have eventually given up on their purchase and 79% have switched to a different travel provider due to challenges in the user journey.

In response, Webcredible conducted a review comparing how different types of travel providers deliver customer experience for users researching and booking holiday travel and accommodation online.

In its Travel Industry User Experience report, Webcredible mapped the online user journey and evaluated the usability of top travel providers’ websites and mobile applications. From a user’s perspective the travel providers were benchmarked against eight heuristics. The eight user experience heuristics were divided into a three step user journey, from discovery and inspiration to making a decision and then booking.

Under ‘Discovery and Inspiration,’ aspects covering researching for travel, providing review and recommendations as well as integration with social media channels were assessed. ‘Decision Making’ reviewed features such as providing accurate and timely travel information and product detail, e-mail marketing and the use of consistent branding across all channels and devices. And finally, ‘Booking’ assessed the site usability and the online booking process.

Against each heuristic, the travel providers were assigned a score and ranked in a travel user experience index.

Airbnb ranked first overall due to their exceptional website usability, simple booking processes and research options. Whereas traditional travel provider Thomas Cook came last due to the lack of brand interaction, poor use of email marketing and confusing booking processes. Other travel providers evaluated include Hotels.com, Virgin Atlantic, TripAdvisor, lastminute.com, Expedia, easyJet and Kuoni.

Webcredible Founder and CEO, Trenton Moss says: ‘Brands are generally providing a very high standard of online and app usability. There is room for improvement in some areas particularly among traditional/longstanding providers, possibly due to more complex internal operations. With mobile and social usage only set to increase, there is a new generation of providers ready to fill the niche in the online travel market.

‘It is no longer enough to simply have an online presence. The travel industry needs to capitalise on the vast opportunities available to interact and guide the consumer at every digital touchpoint and stage of their journey when booking a holiday.’

Ryanair to redesign website and provide point of contact

Irish low-cost airline, Ryanair, is planning to change the layout of its website following customer complaints.

‘I think there are a number of things we need to improve. If you look at the way our website works, it’s very clunky, it’s very frustrating and difficult to get through,’ Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, reportedly told Prime Time on Ireland’s RTE.

‘It’s the source of most complaints I get from customers. They like our fares, they love our punctuality, they like the service we deliver, but they think the website is awful and I agree with them,’ O’Leary said, adding: ‘You’re going to see us rollout a couple of developments in the coming weeks, where we make our website much simpler to engage with.’

Separately, in response to a legal action against the airline by the National Consumer Agency (NCA), Ryanair has also agreed to provide contact points for its customers on its website. The NCA issued Ryanair with a compliance notice, under the Consumer Protection Act 2007, asking the company to provide an email address on its website. Companies providing electronic commerce services must provide consumers with an email address under law, the NCA said.

While Ryanair was initially looking to appeal this notice in Swords District Court, the airline told the NCA later that it was withdrawing the appeal and the compliance notice will remain effective.

Speaking on Prime Time, O’Leary also admitted that the airline needs to be more ‘sensitive and responsive’ to complaints from customers. ‘There is no doubt I’ve made mistakes,’ he said. ‘There’s no doubt I need to learn from those mistakes.’

The airline announced earlier this month that it carried over nine million passengers in August.

‘We employ 9,000 aviation professionals. On a daily basis, they do a fantastic job. They deliver the best airline service of any airline service in Europe. But where there are rough edges, yes, I take responsibility for those and I have to change those rough edges.

‘I think in the past we have responded with far too much of a blank – ‘Look, that’s the policy. Go away’. Now, we have to be a little bit more sensitive and responsive to the customers. It’s about evolution, not revolution,’ O’Leary said.


London Luton Airport launches mobile optimised website

London Luton Airport, one of the UK’s largest airports, has launched a mobile optimised version of its website, m.london-luton.co.uk, responding to the needs of users wanting to view the site on their smart phones.

Designed and developed by a leading UK mobile marketing company, Incentivated, the new website deploys live XML feed of flight data from air traffic control and provides users with real time flight information while on the move. Using Incentivated’s phone detection API, users accessing the main website URL on their phones will be automatically re-directed to the mobile version of the site.

‘We are delighted with this great-looking mobile website. We are thrilled that it is now live, and will be able to help the thousands of passengers transiting through our airport this summer,’ said Oliver Jaycock, General Manager, Marketing for London Luton.

Maintaining brand consistency with the desktop site, the mobile website provides access to similar content as the desktop site, while ensuring that customer needs when using small screens are fully accounted for. Employing the latest responsive coding techniques, both on the device and server-side, the site content, imagery and navigation scales depending upon the screen size of the customer’s phone.

The ‘concertina’ functionality provides access to nested sub-menus enabling faster access to the website details. The use of tabbed browsing pages enables users to access different contents with a touch, providing a quicker and smoother customer browsing experience.

The website features site and content search functionality, where content can be re-organised by a single tap. The site also provides access to third party resources to help users find their way to and from the Airport and/or to National Rail by linking with Google. Again, using tabbed secondary navigation customers can switch between travel options. Customers can also book car parking in advance at the website.

It also provides a dynamic news alert banner giving headline access to important operational information and an ‘Indoor Mapping’ function on supported Android handsets. This new feature from Google enables passengers to display a map of the Airport terminal to help navigate their way around and see where various facilities, shops and restaurants are located.

Jonathan Bass, Managing Director at Incentivated: ‘We are pleased to be able to deliver this innovative mobile website for London Luton. Delivering interesting new ways of displaying and ordering content within a mobile environment has been a real challenge, as we have sought to create a differentiated mobile travel site that gives customers access to the critical information they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.’

New Interactive On-Line Site Aids Arizona Tourism

Travellers requiring information on the US state of Arizona will now be able to obtain it by visiting the Arizona Office of Tourism’s (AOT) new website.

The department said that it has launched an interactive website that will provide pertinent details to customers who are planning the places of interest that they intend to see in the state, prior to visiting it in person. The department said that the site is equipped in such a way that visitors can experience Arizona’s diverse recreational destinations and unique cultural sites, on-line.

The site is being presented by the AOT, which has partnered with the Arizona Council for Enhancing Recreation & Tourism (ACERT). The online version of the Recreation and Cultural Sites Map is a new interactive experience for both residents and tourists of Arizona. Visitors who have access to a PC or tablet can view the site, which has been optimised for these devices. ACERT is made up of federal, state, universities and charitable organisations that attempt to focus attention on the diverse cultural and recreation visitor opportunities on public lands and tribal areas across the State.

A printed version of the Recreation & Cultural Sites Map had been available for the past two decades, and this is the first time that it has been presented online. The information provided on the media covers information about Arizona’s national parks and monuments, federal recreational areas, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites, State Parks, Tribal attractions and state-wide cultural and historical locations.

By accessing these interactive maps, visitors can get an idea of the attractions that are on offer in the state. For example, it will provide details of where to take a boat trip, or to fish, raft, canoe, swim, view mountains or wildlife, find cultural and historical locations, ride equestrian trails etc. In short, customers can use the site to create a customised itinerary for themselves.

Sherry Henry, AOT director, said, ‘The Recreation & Cultural Sites Map is an exceptional tool for our visitors and now we are able to offer this helpful resource online. This map goes beyond the standard map and highlights Arizona’s exciting recreation and natural attributes as well as the diverse cultural, historical and archaeological sites found throughout the state.’

The interactive map is available at www.arizonaexperience.org.