Ryanair is promising "a big investment in digital and a big investment in data" this year as it enters the second year of its "Always Getting Better" approach.
Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer, launched a new customer charter at an event in London today which was also webcast live.
As well as redesigned interiors for its planes, new uniforms for crew and better in-flight food, digital initiatives are clearly front of mind for the new Ryanair.
"It's a big year for digital. In 2014 we caught up; in 2015 we will get ahead. By the end of 2015 we will be a mobile-first airline and we aim to become Europe's number one travel retail platform, which happens to specialise in flights."
A number of initiatives were mentioned, including but not limited to:
- A native app for IoS and Android, by the end of March
- A hold-my-fare-for-24-hours feature, by June
- A fare-comparison feature integrated into the search results which come up on ryanair.com desktop and mobile apps to highlight savings, by June and developed in-house
- Personalized websites, or at least web sites segmented by location or customer groups, in October
- Destination content generated by Ryanair customers
- Further enhancements to its relationships with Travelport, Amadeus and Google Flight Search
- Tours, activities and restaurant content available at destination via the app
Emailed questions didn't appear to get through but those in the room asked about :
iBeacons - "it's something we are considering but we don't think it's game-changer and I think they have been somewhat overhyped"
conversion rates - "we saw a double-digit increase in conversions between the old site and the new site"
loyalty schemes - "we don't need a traditional frequent flyer programme because it doesn't suit the brand and we don't need an FFP to get information on our customer, we can get it from our web and mobile sites"
data - "we will use data for conversions, customer acquisition and customer retention"
The unanswered (but not unasked) question is "who will Ryanair partner with to deliver these initiatives?". Current partners or new ones? Is Amadeus looking at a relationship beyond distribution? Where will the tours come from? Are any of these initiatives coming out of Ryanair Labs?
And just how realistic is its aim to become, essentially, the leading OTA in Europe?
With 90m customers a year, it must be pretty close already.