RYANAIR HAS SHUTTERED a holiday booking service previously heralded as a key component of its much-trumpeted mission to become the ‘Amazon of travel’.
The low-cost airline quietly closed Ryanair Holidays on Monday, a service that sold winter sun, family getaways and city breaks to customers in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The company did not respond to a request for comment from Fora, but it published a short statement on its website explaining that “going forward, it is no longer possible to book a package on Ryanair Holidays”.
It said that previous bookings will be “unaffected and will be fulfilled as planned”.
Ryanair Holidays launched in December 2016, initially as part of a partnership with Spanish tour operator Logitravel and accommodation provider World2Meet.
The deal with Logitravel soured after a few months, according to reports, and Ryanair partnered with another company, Germany-based HLX Touristik.
Travel industry commentator and editor of Travel Extra Eoghan Corry suggested that Ryanair, in its decision to close the holiday booking service, has discovered that the business of selling package holidays is far more complex than it had anticipated.
“The history of Ryanair is that they charge into something that they think is a good idea and they’re very unforgiving if it doesn’t deliver quickly,” he told Fora.
“Putting together a package holiday is a very complicated business. Historically, Ryanair doesn’t do complexity.”
Corry suggested there are requirements for providing package holidays that may not have suited Ryanair, such as the need for a “much more expensive customer service requirement”.
At the launch of Ryanair Holidays in late 2016, the airline’s marketing chief, Kenny Jacobs, said consumers had been “paying too much for package holidays for years and more and more want to put their own packages together themselves”.
“(Ryanair Holidays) is another significant step in our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel,” Jacobs claimed at the time.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary previously forecast the airline’s travel app would become bigger business than selling airline fares by 2026.
In its 2018 annual report, Ryanair said that it generated more than €2 billion through ancillary revenues, a 13% increase on 2017′s tally.
The company attributed the increase to higher uptake of reserved seating, priority boarding and car hire, offset by lower travel insurance and hotels.
The annual report did not provide a breakdown of sales generated through Ryanair Holidays.