Half of all online travel agencies will be out of business within a decade as they fail to keep up with consumer demand, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer has predicted.
Speaking at Routes Europe 2017 in Belfast, Kenny Jacobs said consumers increasingly look for companies offering a wide range of options when they book their holidays to ensure the most choice.
He argued that only the biggest OTAs would survive as other web giants, such as Google and even Ryanair itself, expand into the sector.
Jacobs said: “We’ll see about half the online travel providers going out of business in the next 5 to 10 years. They will just be too small with Amazon, Google and Ryanair.com in the space and people won’t be able to get everything they need in one place.”
Jacobs made the comments as he sketched out his own vision for Ryanair’s website, which currently attracts 600 million unique users a year, labelling it the “Amazon of travel”.
He said that while the site already sells the airline’s core product of flights and now accommodation, car hire and packages, it could go much further, distributing other airlines’ flights anywhere in the world as well as tertiary products from sun cream to Sim cards.
Jacobs added: “We are going to have self-connecting flights on the Ryanair network. We’re going to have feeder traffic so customers can book their ongoing non-Ryanair flights via our website.
“We’re partnering with other airlines on an individual basis. We want to do this on a low-cost model.”
In February the Irish carrier said it would partner with Norwegian from summer 2017 and it is also understood to be in talks about a possible agreement with Aer Lingus.
Jacobs said he believed the scale of offering from Ryanair.com would convince other airlines to also start using the site for third-party distribution of their product.
“It’ll just be cheaper. The airlines should look at that and then the price on OTA websites and other forms of distribution,” he said.
For a full report on Routes Europe 2017, see next week’s edition of TTG.