Yesterday, I accidentally opened the Ryanair page and found they were offering £2 one way tickets for journeys in November through to March. The tickets went really quick and by the time I got home there weren’t any left for the routes I was interested in.
I started to dig around to see how come I missed this great offer. Even though I’m subscribed to Ryanair’s newsletter I got no heads-up for it. I checked on their Press Release page but there was nothing on it either.
So it’s not just me. 66 million Ryanair passengers, some of whom are surely subscribed to the newsletter and others who check their PR website regularly didn’t know of the sell-out. Why?
The only reasonable explanation I can offer is that it’s one of Ryanair’s marketing tactics. News spread quicker by word of mouth then via any press releases, newsletters or any other marketing campaigns. Moreover, it’s reaaaaaaaally cheap.
I continued to wonder how this may work. Surely, Michael O’leary isn’t going to make it easy for us to figure out when he’s planning the next sale.
I went through all Ryanair’s special offers press releases and put their dates on a Google Calendar.
So I went ahead and analysed the press release calendar pattern quickly. Here’s what I found:
Almost 60% of all Ryanair special offer announcements were made on a Monday or Tuesday, with just over 20% made on a Thursday. They have never made any announcements on a Saturday, Wednesdays and Sundays being the least popular days when nearly 10% of their announcements were made.
The period analysed was between February 2007 and November 2009 as their announcements don’t go any further than the beginning of 2007.
Very interesting is the immense growth of press release popularity in the second half of this year when almost 60% of all special offer announcements were made – 34 out of 58.
The press release pattern seams very erratic. Some of the offers were prompted by bad publicity, e.g. ‘Ryanair gives away 1.1m FREE seats BBCPanorama lies’ (O’leary beautifully manipulated the whole Panorama crew who did publish his interview on their website).
Right, so what are we gonna do with the findings? There are a few tips we could bear in mind:
– don’t wait for the newsletter to announce any big sales
– they’ll come unexpectedly on Monday or Tuesday
– if not check on a Thursday
– you’re safe to go for a pint on a Friday because there will be no announcements on a Saturday
– Sundays should be quiet too, with only a handful of less important announcements made
Finally, judging from the popularity of the offers yesterday if there will be a sale tickets will go within a few hours. So be prepared to buy when the time comes.
I’d love to be able to provide any alternative analyses of this type but unfortunately weren’t able to find any. Looks like Ryanair’s not very popular with academics.
Anyway, hope this helps a little bit. Keep your eyes open and let me know if you spot any trends. And any big sales of course!