Ryanair plans to give price comparison and review sites like TripAdvisor and Skyscanner a run for their money. The low-cost airline has decided to offer those very services and more through its own website with the aim of becoming a 'one-stop shop' for travel, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The carrier made a raft of customer service improvements following shock profit warnings last year - and those changes seem to have turned around Ryanair's fortunes.
Its half-year profits rocketed 32% to €795 million (£621 million). Full-year profit after tax is expected to be in the range of €750 million - €770 million (£586 million - £601 million) - a figure which has been revised upwards since the start of the financial year.
And the number of passengers is expected to increase 9% on the previous 12 months; the airline is predicting that it will have flown 89 million passengers by the end of its financial year.
Its latest plans will see Ryanair offer passengers services that are usually associated with an online travel agent, from its own version of TripAdvisor to other "ancillary services" such as airport transfers and hotels, according to chief executive Michael O'Leary.
He said: "The airlines have been somewhat dysfunctional in the way we have developed our digital platforms. TripAdvisor shouldn't really exist as an independent platform, it should be on Ryanair. We will be establishing user forums, user feedback. What I'm particularly excited about is we are going to put a price comparison website up on Ryanair."
However the headline-hitting airline has reportedly received 80,000 complaints a year from disgruntled customers in the past: so what if its new TripAdvisor-type service were filled with complaints and negative feedback, the Telegraph asked.
But an unfazed O'Leary commented: "We are not a sensitive airline. I think what you will find is there will be much more positive endorsement coming back from people who have flown with us."
He told the newspaper that he did regret not making customer service improvements earlier - such as allocated seating, allowing customers to take a second, small piece of hand baggage on board and a website that is easier to navigate.
He stated: "We should have realised slightly earlier that we had won the price battle but we should have moved quicker or sooner on addressing those elements that unnecessarily peed people off."
By 2024, Ryanair is hoping to realise ambitious growth plans to reach 150 million passengers a year.