A new focus on mobile and social media platforms was confirmed today by Ryanair in a shake-up of its online presence.
A new website and digital marketing strategy signaled earlier this week by chief executive Michael O’Leary does not specifically mention working with online travel agents.
However, the airline is removing its Recaptcha security feature for individual passengers from October 30. It will remain in place for high volume bookers, screenscrapers and travel agents, Ryanair said.
The online revamp includes the launch of a @Ryanair page on Twitter, removing a €3 charge to download the airline’s mobile app from October 1 and a redesign of booking flows from December.
The budget carrier aims to “substantially reduce” the time it takes to complete bookings with a new passenger registration/retention service to go live for summer 2014.
O’Leary said: “Our primary focus this winter will be to significantly invest in, and improve, the Ryanair.com website, our mobile platform and our interaction with passengers using social media.
“We are pleased to remove Recaptcha from November for individual passengers, although the security feature will remain in place for high volume or multiple IP addresses in order to deter larger travel agents, screenscrapers and others who flood our website seeking fare quotes, and diminish our website’s accessibility for individual passengers.”
He added: “This winter will also see a rolling programme of development to improve the Ryanair.com website, make it easier for passengers to navigate, quicker for them to locate our all-inclusive price quotes, identify availability of our lower fare promotions and book Ryanair’s great fares for themselves and their families.
“These improvements will be accompanied by a new digital marketing strategy which will see Ryanair switch a significant proportion of its marketing budget from old to new media, with a particular focus on mobile and social media platforms.”
He was speaking at the airline’s annual meeting in Dublin where shareholders were told that a record 9 million passengers were carried in August.
O’Leary confirmed plans to use lower fares to “widen our substantial unit cost advantage over all other EU airlines”.
He said: “We will use these lower costs to offer even lower fares to Ryanair passengers across all EU markets in which we operate, and already these fares – starting from €15 one way – are delivering increased bookings and higher advance loads, albeit at lower yields this autumn.”
Traffic is set to grow from 80 million to 110 million passengers a year by 2019.