Ryanair OTA partnerships ‘positive for industry’, says On the Beach chief

Ryanair OTA partnerships ‘positive for industry’, says On the Beach chief

There's been a 'massive change' in the relationship with the airline

On the Beach Group chief executive Shaun Morton believes Ryanair is likely to strike more deals with online travel agencies and has suggested such moves are “really positive” for the industry.

Last month, On the Beach became the fourth OTA to reach an agreement with the airline meaning Ryanair seats can be offered as part of package holidays.

Morton noted the carrier had struck further deals since then and predicted more would follow.

“I think more deals will be done and ultimately the industry and holidaymakers are going to benefit by having an airline that’s historically been direct-only [but is now] cooperating with travel agents.”

During the Classic Package Holidays Festival in Belek, Turkey, Morton reflected on the “massive change” in the relationship with Ryanair.

“We’ve been in various bouts of litigation with Ryanair for the past 14 years and they’ve not been particularly trade-friendly over that period, so what they’ve done now in starting to form some formal relationships with the industry is a huge change,” he said.

“We have to see this as a really positive thing for the industry and the consumer. They’re the biggest airline in Europe by a distance – people want to fly with them.”

Outlining the benefits of Ryanair’s deal with On the Beach, Morton said: “It secures seat supply with a very significant airline, so it’s good news.”

The agreement with the carrier does not extend to On the Beach Group’s B2B brand Classic Package Holidays.

Morton said: “That business is still quite early on in its growth journey and there’s significant room for growth with it, with product that we can access with 18 airlines and more than 5,000 hotels and an ever-growing distribution into travel agents.”

Morton went on to highlight the importance of the trade, saying: “There are millions of people in the UK who want to book through a trusted advisor.”

He added Si Morris-Green had been promoted to B2B director of Classic Collection and Classic Package Holidays, following the departure of chief executive Andy Freeth, because of the strong relationships he had built with agents.

“I’m confident he’s the right person to lead the business in the next chapter of growth,” Morton said.