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Ryanair Service Process: Service Blueprint

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Ryanair Service Process: Service Blueprint
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Ryanair’s Service Blueprint
  4. Consumer Behaviour Theories
  5. Analysis of Service Interactions
  6. New Service Consideration
  7. Conclusion
  8. Reference List

Executive Summary

This paper discusses the service process of Ryanair through the use of a service blueprint. It has identified the strategies used by the airline to increase revenue. These main sources of additional income are selling various options and in-flight goods. Food and drinks are also offered, although people are allowed to bring their own (Can I bring food/drinks on board? no date). The company’s main limitation is the lack of a comfort-oriented package. Consequently, this report recommends Ryanair include upgraded seats with their most expensive ticket option.

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Introduction

The hospitality and tourism industry is comprised of many segments, such as transportation, lodging, food, and drinks service, event planning, tourist attractions, and more. This report will focus on the transportation business; however, one must note that all the mentioned fields are closely connected and often overlap. Companies that are centered around providing transit can offer other services, although ­­­their diversification is usually not as prominent as in other areas. The paper will analyze customer behavior using the example of a popular Irish airline called Ryanair. ­

Ryanair’s Service Blueprint

Ryanair is a vastly successful company, yet it is also widely criticized for its subpar working conditions, an abundance of additional fees, and provocative actions. On the one hand, it calls itself the leading international airline by the number of passengers and boasts an impressive 470 aircraft in its fleet, which continues to expand (Ryanair, no date). On the other hand, in a survey conducted in 2019, the airline has received a customer satisfaction rating of 45%, resulting in the lowest place among UK’s 100 most popular brands (BBC, 2019). What is more, this was the sixth year in a row, in which Ryanair’s service was evaluated so poorly. To identify the factors that affect the passengers’ experience, this report uses a service blueprint model.

A service blueprint is a visual aid for understanding the organization of a client’s journey. It is usually presented in the form of a diagram, which tends to be digital but can be hand-drawn. The main components of a service blueprint are customer actions, frontstage employee actions, backstage employee actions, processes, and evidence (Gibbons, 2017). The key benefit of using this method is that it highlights the interactions and links between the various parts of a service. Modern business operations can be too complex to be represented in detail by a traditional service blueprint (Lobo et al., 2019). Consequently, it is crucial to outline the most vital constituents prior to creating the diagram.

Although Ryanair’s main appeal is in its low fares, providing a satisfactory flight experience is increasingly important, as the competition in the low-cost segment becomes more competent. Reflecting this idea, the company’s service blueprint will be constructed from the customer’s point of view. From the start of the ordering process, the customer is presented with options to purchase additional services. These services include priority boarding, extra cabin bags, reserving seats, checking in luggage, security fast track, and the ability to change flight dates. One might note that a substantial part of these offerings is provided by other airlines with no additional fees. The charges are not insignificant either; for example, a flight with a based price of £9.99 would currently cost £84.84 with all the optional benefits (London Stansted to Gdansk, 2020). Remarkably, the option to choose seats with extra legroom is only available in the most expensive “Flexi Plus” package, even though it costs nothing to the airline.

The in-flight experience also shows some frustrating points for Ryanair’s passengers. According to a recent study, personal relaxation has become an expected part of an airplane trip (Nam, Ha and Lee, 2018). This could be watching a movie, reading, or even sleeping, depending on the person’s taste and service availability. Ryanair has stopped using reclining seats to save space, thus making long flights uncomfortable (Cuskelly, 2017). Also contributing to this issue is the lack of legroom in the cramped cabin. Furthermore, there is no included entertainment to compensate for the annoying seat situation. Customers could connect to the onboard Wi-Fi; however, they would have to pay extra to watch movies or access the internet.

Evidence Website, a confirmation e-mail Website, boarding pass Registration Desk, Luggage tags Scanners, ID Scanners, ID, Boarding pass, bus, ramp, airplane Runway, airplane Air hostess, services catalog Runway, Airport, gate, baggage claim
Customer’s actions Reserve tickets (usually online) Register for a flight online Check-in luggage Pass security check Wait in line, board plane Remain seated with seatbelt buckled Order in-flight services Leave plane, collect luggage, leave the airport Line of interaction
Frontstage employee actions Weigh luggage, apply tags Check ID, scan carry-on bags, send customer thought scanner Greet customer, scan boarding pass, check ID Deliver basic security speech Take passengers order and fulfill it Thank the customer and say goodbye Line of visibility
Backstage employee actions Send luggage through security Transport passengers to the airplane by bus Takeoff Landing Line of internal interaction
Support processes Process order, offer additional services Assign seats to the passenger The conveyor transports luggage to the plane Load passenger onto airplane via the ramp Flight maintenance

Consumer Behaviour Theories

Consumer behavior is a vast field of research with numerous new developments, which play a significant role in understanding consumer decisions, plans, and preferences. The theory of reasoned action supposes that buyers make choices based on the specific result they expect to achieve (‘Four Consumer Behavior Theories Marketers Should Know’, no date). Another notable feature of this theory is that according to it, the consumer can reverse their decision at any point until the sale is finalized. The two main recommendations of this theory are to associate a product with a particular benefit or outcome that the end-user would receive and to make transactions as quickly as possible.

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The EKB model is a continuation of the theory of reasoned action that expands its understanding of the consumer’s thought process. It separates the purchase into five stages, and marketing s said to be most effective during the initial information stage and the external influences stage (Ashman, Solomon and Wolny, 2015). It is often more beneficial to create products that produce a positive initial impression, instead of focusing on achieving higher quality. Well-designed advertisements and websites can distinguish a brand from its competitors, even though they might be much more similar.

The motivation-need theory was created by Abraham Maslow in 1943 and has profoundly influenced the global psychological community. It states that people have five needs that they are always seeking to fulfill in order of importance: physiological needs, security needs, social needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization needs (Raaij and Wandwossen, 1978). Consequently, a successful company must position its product in a way that would indicate to the consumer that it can fulfill one of their more crucial needs. Safety seems to be a popular selling point for premium goods, as buyers often believe that choosing a more expensive option would ensure more effective protection and higher reliability.

Opposite to the theories described above, the Hawkins Stern impulse buying theory argues that not all purchase decisions are made solely based on rational thinking and reasoning. Research indicates that impulsive buying is guided by emotions rather than logic, and can, therefore, be influenced by the product appearance or the feelings it invokes (Abhishek and Krishna, 2019). This theory is likely the most relevant to Ryanair’s business model, as they rely heavily on selling additional services, which the customer might not always need.

Analysis of Service Interactions

In every flight, there are several interactions between the customer and the service that are vital for analyzing their behavior. First, when ordering a ticket on the company’s website, the client sees how many seats are available at that price. The number is usually quite low, which encourages them to proceed with making the payment. By the theory of reasoned action, lowers the risk of the customer deciding to change their mind and choose a different airline. At same time, the client is also presented with several additional options they could pay for. One of them is choosing a seat, which could be considered a security feature, since certain parts of the plane are safer in the event of a crash (Kevin Loria, 2018). This appeals to one of the customer’s most prominent needs, as stated by the motivation-need theory. The priority bearding option provides little practical advantage in terms of saving time (Is Priority Boarding Really An Advantage?, 2017). Instead, it is a way to capitalize on impatient passengers who are likely to make an impulsive purchase.

The pre-boarding interactions, on the contrary, are not designed specifically with the purpose of selling additional services, although they still advertise them. When passing security, every passenger can see the signs for the fast track line, which also tends to be located closer to the entrance. The queue for entering the plane is also split into priority and non-priority, which serves as a natural demonstration of the benefits some clients did not choose to pay for. Finally, inflight magazines are an example of the implementation of the EKB model. Since the airline control most of the information that their passengers receive, it can be highly effective at influencing their decision-making process through engaging pictures and well-written texts.

New Service Consideration

The main issue with Ryanair’s current propositions is that there is no option to get an experience close to that of a traditional airline. Even though one can purchase extras for more than ten times the price of the ticket, they would still have to spend several hours in a non-reclining seat with no real comfort features. Consequently, the company is advised to consider a low-cost analog of a “first-class.” All planes will have several rows of more comfortable seats that can recline and have built-in entertainment systems with movies, books, and possibly some info about the flight’s destination. The latter would be especially appreciated, as an increasing number of travelers wish to engage more closely with local culture (Pera, 2017). The option could replace the current most expensive package at the same price point. In addition, it could include a complimentary drink or a discount on all onboard meals. The service blueprint for this service is similar to the blueprint of a regular flight.

Evidence Website, a confirmation e-mail Website, boarding pass Registration Desk, Luggage tags Scanners, ID Scanners, ID, Boarding pass, bus, ramp, airplane Runway, airplane Air hostess, services catalog, entertainment system Runway, Airport, gate, baggage claim
Customer’s actions Reserve tickets (usually online), buy the “first-class” option Register for a flight online Check-in luggage Fast track security check board plane first Remain seated with seatbelt buckled Order in-flight services, use built-in entertainment Leave plane, collect luggage, leave the airport Line of interaction
Frontstage employee actions Weigh luggage, apply tags Check ID, scan carry-on bags, send customer thought scanner Greet customer, scan boarding pass, check ID Deliver basic security speech Take passengers orders and give a complimentary drink Thank the customer and say goodbye Line of visibility
Backstage employee actions Send luggage through security Transport passengers to the airplane by bus Takeoff Landing Line of internal interaction
Support processes Process order, offer additional services Assign seats to the passenger The conveyor transports luggage to the plane Load passenger onto airplane via the ramp Flight maintenance

Conclusion

Ryanair’s services are appealing due to their low prices and effective advertisements. However, the customer experience is far from ideal, from luggage options to legroom and the overall comfort of the seat, everything is at the lowest possible level. The company offers to solve some of the issues for extra payment; however, it is not enough. To capitalize on buyers willing to pay more for a pleasant experience, the airline should begin selling tickets with upgraded seats and other benefits.

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Reference List

  1. Abhishek, P. and Krishna, K. B. (2019) ‘A Review Study and Analysis on Factors that Influence Impulse Buying’, International Journal of Research in Engineering, Science and Management, 2(2), pp. 842–846. Web.
  2. Ashman, R., Solomon, M. R. and Wolny, J. (2015) ‘An old model for a new age: Consumer decision making in participatory digital culture’, Journal of Customer Behaviour.
  3. BBC (2019) Ryanair rated ‘greedy and arrogant’ by customers – BBC News. doi: 2019. Web.
  4. Can I bring food/drinks onboard? (no date) Ryanair.
  5. Cuskelly, C. (2017) Ryanair flights: Why do seats have NO back pockets? Airline launches design for new jets, Express. Web.
  6. ‘Four Consumer Behavior Theories Marketers Should Know’ (no date). Web.
  7. Gibbons, S. (2017) Service Blueprints: Definition, nngroup. Web.
  8. Is Priority Boarding Really An Advantage? (2017). Web.
  9. Kevin Loria (2018) How to survive a plane crash: the best place to sit for safety, Business Insider.
  10. Lobo, S. et al. (2019) ‘Extending service blueprint for new age services’, in Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies. Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH, pp. 809–821. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-5977-4_68
  11. London Stansted to Gdansk (2020) Ryanair. Web.
  12. Nam, S., Ha, C. and Lee, H. (2018) ‘Redesigning In-Flight Service with Service Blueprint Based on Text Analysis’, Sustainability, 10(12), p. 4492. doi: 10.3390/su10124492.
  13. Pera, R. (2017) ‘Empowering the new traveller: storytelling as a co-creative behaviour in tourism’, Current Issues in Tourism. Routledge, 20(4), pp. 331–338. doi: 10.1080/13683500.2014.982520.
  14. Raaij, W. F. van and Wandwossen, K. (1978) ‘Motivation-Need Theories and Consumer Behavior’, ACR North American Advances, NA-05.
  15. Ryanair (no date) Facts and Figures, Ryanair’s Corporate Website. Web.

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