O’Leary hints at ‘secret’ Google plans to blow metasearch away

Google is reported to be working on secret plans with Ryanair to transform how consumers search for, select and buy airline tickets.

The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary claimed the partnership with Google would change the way people buy tickets forever.

“There are some very exciting developments with Google, where we have been working with them on sharing the pricing,” he told the Sunday Independent in Ireland.

“We’ll be sharing the Ryanair pricing through all of the Google outlets, so when you go in, there’ll be route selections, cheapest prices and so on. Google are developing a price-comparison thing themselves.

“They want to launch with us and we’re working with them on that kind of product. It’ll blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water,” he claimed.

O’Leary said he expected the project to go live by the end of March.

“Google will say, ‘Here are the fares,’ then you click straight through to Ryanair or someone else.”

Ryanair is not putting any cash into the new scheme, with Google only seeking valuable data from the airline.

“Because Google, being Google, want to show all of the prices from all of the airlines on display they don’t want to charge us, they make all of their money out of advertising,” said O’Leary.

“They don’t want to have a limited or biased search. They want to be able to say they’ve screened all of these airlines on all of the routes.

“They need to find who has got the lowest airfare on these routes…and that’s us.”

O’Leary forecasts a technology revolution in coming years as Ryanair steams into mobile commerce and big data.

“In Europe, the flying won’t change much but the distribution will change massively,” he said in a wide-ranging interview.

“It’s all going to move to digital and mobile. The opportunities for ancillary revenues through mobile are enormous.

“In five years’ time, everyone on Ryanair will be paying on their mobile. We’ll be doing more individual marketing, with the launch of My Ryanair.

O’Leary also said that Ryanair’s new website would include a slick ‘Farefinder’ feature, whereby customers can look at graphs on each route, showing the days with the cheapest flights over the coming 60 days.

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