Ryanair has finally started to reap the benefits of improving its customers’ digital experience of the company, reporting a 32 percent increase in profits to €795 million.
The budget airline has previously announced a strategy to improve customers’ online experience by investing in making its website and mobile apps more useful and easier to use.
“While partially due to the presence of Easter in Q1 and a weak prior year comparable, we have also enjoyed a strong summer thanks to our strategy announced September 2013, of raising forward bookings and improving our customer experience, which has delivered higher load factors and yields,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said today in the company’s half-year results.
According to Ryanair, the customer experience is improving at all stages of the journey, including mobile booking and online check-in. It said customers are finding it easier to find and book the lowest fares on its improved website, and its new, responsive mobile app has been downloaded more than three million times in just six months.
“The success of our improved website and mobile app has been validated by the significant surge in web visits across all major markets particularly the UK,” it said.
According to Hitwise website statistics, Ryanair said its website is now the Uk’s most visited airline website, compared with the same time last year, when it was third behind rivals British Airways and Easyjet.
In July, the airline set up a new IT ‘start-up’ division, Ryanair Labs, which is responsible for the digital improvements.
“Our newly established Ryanair Labs development team will roll out more innovative services and features on our website and mobile app on a continuous basis into 2015,” the company said today.
At launch, Ryanair Labs, based at the company’s Dublin office campus in Swords, set out to recruit 200 new staff by December to help it develop a “world class online travel platform”.
Ryanair said that it wants its Labs staff to be the “best of the best”, with roles in strategy, architecture, design and content available.
“We’re proud to pay well to make sure we get and keep the best people and Ryanair Labs will offer the perks and culture of a start-up without the downsides,” the company promised, saying on its recruitment website that staff would not have to ‘pull all-nighters’ or ‘sacrifice their weekends’.
A range of vacancies are still available on the Labs recruitment site, with roles in software development, data analytics and QA and testing still available.
Ryanair appointed John Hurley as its chief technology officer, heading up the 200-strong Labs team, in August.
Hurley joined from US book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
At Ryanair, he is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s digital and technology strategy.