Ryanair's places in the sun

Not content with dominating the world of cheap flights, Ryanair has now set its sights on holiday homes...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Low-cost airline Ryanair has just launched a new site called RyanairVillas.com, which will allow passengers to book themselves a holiday villa at various Ryanair destinations. Some of your minds may be boggling at the thought of how the Ryanair experience might translate to holiday homes – dashing across Spanish beaches to bag yourself the best venue; putting five euros in the electricity meter every ten minutes to stop the lights going out; bringing your own teabags and towels, that sort of thing – but fear not: the site is actually just an advertising portal for property owners across Europe.

Of course, there are very few companies better than Ryanair at coming up with extra revenue lines. Once you pay the famous low fare, passengers then stump up for taxes, wheelchair duty, baggage check-in, food and drinks (including our personal favourite, the Bullseye Baggies), scratch cards, car rental, duty free and so on and so forth. At a time when fuel prices are rocketing and CEO Michael O’Leary has promised not to introduce fuel surcharges (and typically, castigated the likes of BA for doing so), this is partly why it could be one of the few airlines to end this year in the black.

However, this is a little different because it’s not actually squeezing more cash out of its customers – instead, villa owners stump up a flat fee of €200 for a full year’s worth of online advertising, with no further fees and commissions to be paid. And it seems to be going down a storm; since announcing the scheme five weeks ago, Ryanair claims property owners have been ‘clambering’ to advertise their properties on ‘Europe’s largest travel website’ (well technically, the part of the site run by external partner Web Reservations International, but let’s not split hairs).

And as you’d expect, the ever-parsimonious Ryanair seems extremely proud of the ‘simple design’ of the new site (for which read: cheap and cheerful). As far as we know, O’Leary’s current cost-cutting drive will not mean that owners have to pop round to Ryanair HQ to load up the ad themselves - although perhaps if oil hits $150/ barrel…

One slight issue for the low-cost carrier: the offer currently adorning the top of its brand new website is a lovely villa in Praia de Luz (‘large balcony, close to the beach’). No doubt the Portuguese resort needs all the publicity it can get these days, but we can’t imagine huge numbers of tourists rushing to snap that one up...

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