Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ryanair does a Craigslist

Plenty of coverage on news sites and blogs last week as Ryanair press released news that it is launching a new product,

In short, it's a classified advertising portal. The system allows users to upload ads for their own properties to a microsite, add photos and detail product information, etc.

But there are a few things about this:

The launch shows – once again – that airlines are seeing plenty of opportunity in bringing in new elements to add to the core flight portal.

[If it turns out something like this, for example, British Airways will resemble something closer to an online travel agency]

Ryanair has product deals with Isango (for destination activities) and, of course, its well-publicised product functionality courtesy of Expedia.

Not wanting to be left out of the game, EasyJet recently signed a similar destination services deal with Viator.

But a user-controlled listings service is a very significant move indeed. And a smart one for Ryanair.

Why? Well, in theory, responsibility for the content and control of the ads rests with the user, pretty much removing Ryanair from the picture entirely apart from an initial check when the listing in posted.

Furthermore, a call into Web Reservations International, the Dublin-based company powering the Ryanairvillas system, reveals that Ryanair has definite plans to develop the platform.

Indeed, there are huge opportunities for cross-selling once the system is up and running, in terms of promotions and advertising.

And, at some point in the future, it is more than likely that live Ryanair fares and availability will be streamed alongside the ads.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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