Ryanair has announced its latest step towards becoming 'the Amazon of air travel' - a low-cost accommodation service.
Ryanair Rooms will launch on October 1, offering customers the chance to book hotel, hostel, B&B, villa and homestay options on Ryanair.com.
“Ryanair’s low fares revolutionised air travel for Europe’s passengers," said Kenny Jacobs, the airline's Chief Marketing Officer (pictured below). "Now, with Ryanair Rooms, we’re going to transform booking accommodation."
Ryanair customers are currently able to book hotel rooms via a partnership with Booking.com, which is reportedly set to expire on September 30.
Contacted by Independent.ie Travel, Booking.com declined to comment on 'Ryanair Rooms', but other potential competitors welcomed the announcement.
"The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) welcomes initiatives that can help increase overseas visitors numbers and the attractiveness of Ireland," it said - though it advised customers to shop around, including checking hotels' own websites, before booking.
"We welcome the move," said Alan Clarke, CEO of the Irish-based website, Homestay.com, which connects guests with local hosts worldwide.
"With over 50,000 homestays across 150 countries, we see this trend only increasing over time. Consumers demand more choice when travelling, and homestays have now firmly landed as a category of accommodation.’
Ryanair Rooms will range from five-star hotels to hostels, the airline says. It has called on interested parties to submit proposals to become partners in the service (or "to help us disrupt the travel industry") before October 1st.
The announcement follow's Ryanair's launch of a new car hire service with CarTrawler last year, and the forthcoming Ryanair Schools Travel, a fully-bonded "travel agency for school tours" that has been criticised by Irish travel agents, this summer.
Nor is it likely to stop at accommodation.
Now serving some 116 million customers a year, Ryanair has its sights set on events, restaurants, theatre tickets and even holidays in the future.
"More and more customers are looking to Ryanair for products other than flights, and we see this as a natural progression towards Ryanair.com becoming the Amazon of air travel," Kenny Jacobs said.
If passenger numbers and ancillary revenues continue to grow, CEO Michael O'Leary has even said that in future, flights could be free.