Agent: “Why would we want to get into bed with them now?”
The man tasked with improving the image of Ryanair has hinted at plans to launch a holiday brand within the next five years, TTG Digital reports. But not all agents are impressed.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said it would be a “logical” move for the no-frills carrier, which already sells hotels and car hire, to capture more of the leisure market.
“If it becomes Ryanair Holidays at a point in time, it is a logical way for the brand to go,” he said. “The way customers are responding to the new improved Ryanair, I think it will go forward. I can see us launching this in the next five years. We will always be a low-cost airline, but we are a travel business. We are starting to open our eyes to that opportunity.”
The news follows a change in Ryanair’s position with the trade, after the famously “anti-agent” airline announced it was returning to be sold on GDSs earlier this year, after 10 years of shunning travel agents. But many in the travel trade, including the first agency to ever sell Ryanair flights, remain sceptical about the no-frills carrier’s attitude and its new holiday brand plans.
“A long time ago we used to sell so much Ryanair but we stopped when they decided they no longer wanted to deal with travel agents,” said Steve Pattenden, owner of Double S Travel, which started selling Ryanair tickets when the airline launched in 1985.
“Why would we want to get into bed with them now? I would sell easyJet Holidays because they work with the trade, but I don’t trust Ryanair at all. They might say they want to work with agents now just to solve their problems for the next 12 months, but would they really change after 20 years? I don’t think so.”
[photo courtesy Ryanair]