(Photo: Kenny Jacobs: Aviation Festival Europe)
The Ryanair revolution could be visibly seen almost a year ago, with the assignment of its new chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.
Their Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary, decided to plant a new face behind the image of the low-cost brand, after fearing that his somewhat controversial personality was hindering the public’s perception.
The airline, which had become well known for coming out at the bottom of most consumer polls, hoped that a new face would also bring a new ray of hope, but were they proved right?
Well in the space of only a year, Ryanair has seen passenger numbers rise from 81 million to an expected 90 million and complaints are said to be down by 40 per cent.
The airline quickly decided that in order to widen its appeal, it would need to provide larger investment into those areas that meant the most to its customers. In doing so, it has spent around 25 million euros on the overhaul of its website, reducing the transaction of clicks from 17 to just 5 when booking their low cost flights. The Irish based airline has also widen its fleet.
But the biggest game-changer for Ryanair came when they learnt that they must relax. Their cabin bag restrictions were loosened, as was their booking conditions. They introduced allocated seating, and cut the costs on their charges. And in their latest quest to win over the general public, they are trialling free in-flight movies on demand.
John Hurley, chief technology officer, at the low-cost airline, has said the service will make its revenue from advertising, and if it is well received then it will be rolled out across its fleet of more than 300 aircraft in 2016;
‘It’s aimed at passengers on flights of more than two or three hours. They’ll watch a couple of adverts and will then have access to a selection of pre-recorded TV shows and films which will be streamed through internal Wi-Fi.’
So does this mean that the airline will also be introducing free Wi-Fi? Not just yet, says Hurley; ‘It would increase the drag of our aircraft by two per cent, which equates to 20 million euros in extra fuels.’
However, what it does signal, is yet another example of the airline placing a higher focus on what it is their consumers need and want. And in doing so, Ryanair have become a prime example of the theory that it pays to be nice to your customers.
We recently caught up with Kenny Jacobs, at the Aviation Festival in Europe, watch our exclusive interview with him below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjXDg99j-tA&w=560&h=315]