Ryanair vs the free toilet brigade…
When was the last time you paid to go to the toilet?
If you live in London (where there are 40% less public toilets than 1999), you might benefit from pubs, shops and department stores joining the mayors toilet campaign.
I mean, why maintain the cisterns from the public purse, when the private sector will let you use their fancy facilities?
Marvelous cost efficiency…
Meantime in the private sector, the Ryanair toilet debacle rages on.
In recent months Ryanair has (in my view), conducted a textbook PR campaign, drip-feeding the press stories on their new cost cutting plans.
Everything from charging to use toilets, passengers carrying their own bags to the plane, through to stripping out standard seating for bar stools to get up to 30% more people on board.
Whether or not you agree with the sentiment behind the stories, they have certainly kept Ryanair in the press, and generated a significant amount of free coverage.
But what impact does this have on their brand?
BrandRepublic recently commissioned some vox pops, that asked prospective travellers how they felt about charging passengers to use the toilet.
Responses (as you’d expect) range from, “its ridiculous” and “its horrific”, through to “I am not really bothered, they are no-frills, you get what you pay for”.
I don’t want to ramble on, but just a few things from me…
- Ryanair are a no-frills airline. You don’t expect free peanuts, wine, etc. If you have to pay to use most UK public conveniences, why should a toilet on board a plane be any different?
- Most flights are short haul, with plenty of opportunities in the airport to use free facilities. Given this, what’s the fuss about? Go before you go!
- Like most other sectors, one brand tends to be bold, innovate, take risks. The others follow. How many other airlines will quietly adopt Ryanairs policies after a few months?
I can’t help but feel it’s a little too easy to knock Ryanair for this.
Ultimately, they are a no-frills airline; the business model has always relied on a totally different pricing structure in order to make / increase / maximise profits.
With the travel sector suffering across the board (and even BA reviewing their peanuts and wine policy), it’s going to be a tough year.
But, I can’t help feeling that this won’t harm Ryanair significantly in the short / medium term.
Some people will never fly Ryanair as they simply don’t do low cost. Some will still go with whomever is cheapest, and others will base their decision on airport / ease of access to final destination.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. And given the amount of coffee I’ve had this morning, I am off to spend a penny…
Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is wondering if there will be free loo roll, or will that be 20p extra?