How Ryanair developed multi-platform digital experiences

08 Jul

Since its establishment in 1984, Ryanair has grown from a small airline to become Europe’s favorite airline with an impressive tally of 1,800 daily flights from over 80 bases connecting to 200 plus destinations in 33 countries. One of the challenges the company and other airlines are facing today is learning how to enhance the online researching and holiday booking experience. The booking process is fraught with many hurdles, most of which can lead to costly mistakes or ruin an otherwise great holiday. The matter is made worse by the existence of a large number of travel options as well as platforms which all look eerily similar. The other challenge airlines must grapple with is the high rates of abandonment in online bookings.

Adopting New Technologies to Improve Customer Satisfaction

According to a recent survey results published on Travolution, 80 % of travelers abandon online air travel bookings annually due to a host of reasons including poor user experience and window shopping. Poor user experience, according to another survey is attributed to less desirable functionality in many booking sites. This unpleasant experience has a direct impact on airline company’s bottom line, vis-à-vis a drop in the revenues and customer satisfaction. To overcome these ingrained industry challenges, many companies are quickly adopting new technologies to help them keep up with customer demands. This is evident in the aggressive uptake and growth of mobile internet browsing, even though issues touching on responsiveness and compatibility are still unsettled.

The failure to address the mobile limitations is actually causing the airline industry a fortune, because it is causing mobile shoppers to abandon travel booking altogether. Figures unveiled by Travolution indicate that £2.7 billion is lost annually by UK airlines due to ineffective mobile user experience. However, there is a glimmer of hope as evident in the growing number of people using tablets to undertake online bookings. The other ray of hope stems from the increase in the use of user experience or UX in the travel industry to solve customer demands. Today, airlines can conduct UX research through remote usability testing techniques that incorporate the customer component directly into the decision making process.

Boosting the Resourcefulness of the Digital Assets

Airlines such as Ryanair have totally transformed their online customer experience by incorporating the customer central approach, which focuses on boosting the resourcefulness of the digital assets. This in turn has changed people’s perception regarding Ryanair’s service offerings. The company’s “Always Getting Better” program alongside the unveiling of a new website has seen the airline attracts 50 million hits every month. The website features a host of enhancements that have streamlined and reduced the flight booking process. The accounting section is also enhanced to make it easy for regular passengers to save critical travel and payment information. The other important tool is UserZoom, an unmoderated testing software tool for generating qualitative and quantitative data.

For example, users can perform task based research to find cheapest fares or booking dates. The whole policy of placing users at the forefront of every design decision has helped Ryanair address the frustrations passengers go through every often when booking flights online. To enhance its multi-platform digital experience, the company has also unveiled a new MyRyanair platform, which many industry analysts believe will disrupt the travel industry. This is part of the wider plan by the airline to become a digital travel company running on a customer oriented technology to take advantage of advanced user experience (UX) design. According to Silicon Republic magazine, Ryanair has already hired a team of 200 tech workers and distributed iPads to its 3,500 pilots to ensure program success.

MyRyanair platform was built by software engineering experts from Comtrade and aims to speed up the booking process by 20 %. The application is also set to give 106 million travelers, who use Ryanair annually new digitally disruptive services that will allow them to receive restaurant tips or links to share taxis. MyRyanair comes at a time when Ryanair’s is planning an ambitious project to increase its passenger numbers to 180 million by 2014, and working out a solution that will help it fill four Boeing 737’s every minute during peak boarding hours. Ryanair believes in enhancing personal user-experience using technology is the right thing to do, because of the increase in the number of tech savvy travelers.

Note: It is important that we are not in any way associated with Ryanair Magazine, except that we fly it a lot and are part critics and part fans of the same.