I travelled on Ryan Air this weekend. A slick, amazingly good value for money airline.
But it made me think about how their business model works and, yes, how it compares to ours.
This isn’t a dig at Michael O’Leary & Co at all. I think that the provision that he and East Jet etc offer is fantastic. Low cost airlines have revolutionised air travel and opened up access to corners of the World that many of us would not otherwise see. The big, complacent airlines that have charged extortionate ticket prices for years and clung on to out dated, inefficient business models to the detriment of the consumer, deserve the bashing that they have had at the hands of budget airlines. They have had to adapt or die. As indeed many have.
Can you see any comparison to the property industry here? Yep, damn obvious isn’t it.
Ryan Air and Easy Jet are the norm for short haul travel now. Incredible to achieve that against the likes of British Airways, Lufthansa etc in just a few years. Why spend £500 flying to Spain when you can do it for £25? For £500 you get a paper plate full of re-heated something or other, a ‘free’ drink and an air hostess in a glam uniform. But the difference between the two costs is enough to make most sane people opt for value, not glam.
But perhaps Ryan Air have taken the low budget thing a stage further. Maybe a stage too far, some might say?
They’ll charge you a fiver for a sandwich and that’s fine when you know that and can take your own. It’s a bit like online estate agents’ for sale boards. They are charged for because it’s expensive to courier them around the UK and get someone to put them up. But you don’t have to have one and you can always use your own.
But many online estate agents are into what we at eMoov term the RyanAirification of the concept.
Charging extra for photographs. Or more for a particular level of ‘service’. Most even charge a renewal fee if you’ve been on the market with them for over 6 months or so. The equivalent of making money from priority boarding or, even, using the loo as was once mooted by O’Leary himself?
eMoov have a policy whereby our fees are low and once paid, there are no hidden extras. No penalty fees. No renewal costs. No sole agency contracts. No tie ins.
As more and more newcomers jump on the online estate agency bandwagon, watch out for their small print and how some profit from things that you just wouldn’t and shouldn’t expect.
It could cost you more than just ‘spending a penny’.