Ryanair Holdings Plc is seeking to take the edge off flying with small children in a no-frills environment by providing family-oriented amenities such as bottle warmers and free transport for pushchairs.
The new family product includes discounts for children’s seats, checked bags and travel insurance, in flight milk-warming and baby-changing facilities, and two free pieces of equipment such as buggies or cots on board, the Dublin-based said today.
The improvements add to a range of upgrades that Ryanair has launched in recent months as Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary seeks to shed the image of an abrasive carrier with little regard for customer service. Measures already introduced include more allocated seating, a user-friendly online booking process and fewer fees tied to airport check-in.
“We’re fixing things that people don’t like,” Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said at a press conference at the London Eye today. “It’s going to help our top line because it’s going to help more families say ’we’ll fly with Ryanair’ and it’s going to help us from a retention point of view.”
Child-friendly products, as well as discounts that kick in when a family makes a third booking, should help drive loyalty among young parents, he said. Families account for 15 percent to 20 percent of Ryanair’s customer base. Europe’s biggest discount airline will next unveil a mobile-phone application as well as a “tailored business product.”
Ryanair is also speaking to retailers about co-marketing products, Jacobs said in an interview. Companies like Tesco Plc and Unilever NV could use Ryanair data to target travelers with products they may need before or after their holiday, he said, while restaurants, hotels and car rental companies are likely to be interested in joint promotions and discounts.
“We will have 85 million passengers this year, that’s a very rich data asset,” Jacobs said. “We will start to use that data
to impact the joint promotions that we run with partners over the next couple years.”
Rival EasyJet Plc, Europe’s No. 2 discount airline, has successfully sought to upgrade its product from the bare-bones offering on which the carriers were founded more than two decades ago. The company is serving more first-tier airports and has built up a following among business-minded travelers.