Ryanair attempts to save costs on everything, including employees. Hence, Ryanair is frequently criticized by unions and employees, who suffer from unjust attitude to them from the part of top executives of the company, hard conditions of work and relatively low benefits for the job they do. Instead, Virgin Atlantic attempts to provide their employees with comfortable conditions of work to increase the job satisfaction because the latter is crucial for the effective performance of employees. Moreover, the high job satisfaction improves the company-customer relationships since employees work better and customer relationship management improves too.
The different leadership style defines the difference in the marketing strategy and performance of the two companies as well as their relationships with customers. Virgin Atlantic focuses on long-haul flights, mainly transatlantic flights. In such a way, the company offers customers long-haul flights and the company is interested in return customers because the high level of return customers will improve the performance of the company. However, the company operating in long-haul flights may have difficulties in finding clients because the competition is tight, while customers are extremely concerned with the quality of service and they are ready to pay the high price for the flights.
Instead, Ryanair focuses on short-haul flights paying a particular attention to the domestic market and the EU Market as its major markets. The company focuses on short-haul flights that do not need much services being provided because customers flying for a short distance just do not need them during the flight. Instead, customers flying on a short distance pay more attention to the price rather than to services or their quality. This is why Ryanair has proved to be so successful as a low-cost company operating in the airline industry in the domestic and European market.
The brand values of the two companies are quite different. Virgin Atlantic is a collection of businesses and the company develops any business, where it may succeed from airlines to running trains or manufacturing contraceptives. The diversity of business decreases risks for Virgin Atlantic because the company can compensate its losses in the airline business but other businesses. Thus, the company becomes less dependent on its airline branch.
Instead, Ryanair is a narrowly-specialized company that focuses on flights solely. In such a way, the company save costs and focuses on the airline industry entirely. As a result, the company develops virtually perfect organizational structure, where everything and everyone work for the achievement of Ryanair’s marketing goals and objectives. The narrow specialization of the company allows Ryanair to gain benefits from its business but, on the other hand, the company is highly dependent on the situation in the airline market.
The company-customer relationship in Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair also differs substantially. Virgin Atlantic focuses on the development of the customer loyalty and gains repeat business through brand-related service values. The leader of the company attempts to create the positive brand image and to attract customers to the company due to the positive company-customer relationships. As customers develop positive habits of using Virgin’s services, the company attracts more and more loyal customers.
In contrast, Ryaniar gains repeated business due to the low price, which is the core of its marketing strategy. The company does not really care about its customers in terms of services or their quality. The primary concern of the company is to offer customers the cheapest tickets to make them affordable to virtually any customers. In the time of the economic recession, such strategy has proved to be particularly effective.
At the same time, the leadership and marketing strategy of the two companies have different effects on employees. The pressure on Ryanair’s employees is higher because the company offers shorter flights and employees had to perform more jobs with fewer break hours. Hence, union complaints and dissatisfaction of many employees working in Ryanair but flexibility of the recruitment policy of the company allows Ryanair to replace virtually any employee in a short run.
In contrast, Virgin Atlantic offers longer break hours because of longer flights, while the pressure on employees is lower due to the high level of staffing of the company. The company attempts to create a team headed by the leader, where all employees support each other and follow the lead of the leader.
Thus, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic are two successful but different companies. Ryanair tends to authoritarian leadership style with minimal relations and communication between the leader and subordinates. Instead, Virgin Atlantic focuses on the tolerant and liberal leadership, when the leader performs the function of a guide to subordinates and a head of the team working together to achieve common goals.