Ryanair Makes a Play For Event Ticketing

Peter Gietl

by | Dec 19, 2018

Purchasing a ticket to cheer for your favorite team may be getting easier. Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest airlines, announced last week a strategic partnership with Coras, a Dublin-based online ticketing platform. The partnership will allow Ryanair to sell football tickets directly to their customers, as they are booking their trip. Initially, La Liga games featuring, Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, and Málaga as well as Toulouse FC in France’s Ligue 1, will be available for sale with more teams to follow. 

Arival research shows that only 1% of travelers are booking their event tickets on travel sites. That number is even more glaring when you realize destination events are one of the fastest growing drivers of travel decisions. Clearly, travel sites are leaving a lot of money on the table. We caught up with Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Coras, to get his take on how this will affect the industry.

“The biggest challenge is there really isn’t a one size fits all model to sell tickets, it has to be customized. Trying to marry the ticketing industry to the travel industry takes a bit of time.”

Mark McLaughlin

CEO of Coras

McLaughlin has been working in the ticketing industry for over a decade and started one of the first mobile ticketing companies that then evolved into a ticketing software company. He sees this initial partnership as the first step in a transformation for the entire event ticketing industry.

“We felt the opportunity to allow big online brands to sell tickets themselves could be groundbreaking,”  McLaughlin explains. “We approached Ryanair and they turned us down initially because they said ‘you haven’t thought this through yet,’ and they were right. We then began to get a better understanding of which systems have access to which inventory, which have good API’s, which can get you real-time pricing.”

After doing more research, Coras was able to come back to Ryanair with a partnership that made sense for both companies. That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t big challenges left to overcome.

“If I want to go see my team I don’t want to go see a different team. Whereas in other tours and events, if the 11:00 am tour for the Colosseum is sold out, you can book the next one, there’s more flexibility,”  McLaughlin says. “The biggest challenge is there really isn’t a one size fits all model to sell tickets, it has to be customized. Trying to marry the ticketing industry to the travel industry takes a bit of time.”

There is an undeniable opportunity for customers to be able to book these events through the travel sites they are already using for their hotels and airlines. McLaughlin sums it up this way, “Our bet is that once travel brands come in that can target customers based on their plans it will be a lot more effective compared to traditional ticketing agencies.”

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