JetBlue's Revolutionary Promo Sells Out Early - InformationWeek
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8/20/2009
10:29 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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JetBlue's Revolutionary Promo Sells Out Early

Not to say I told you so, but JetBlue's $599 unlimited-travel promotion sold out well ahead of its deadline as customers, in spite of the rotten economy, jumped all over the innovative plan. When it came out last week, we wrote a column about it called JetBlue Genius And Hollywood Lunacy and predicted other companies would start turning over more decision-making power to their customers.

Not to say I told you so, but JetBlue's $599 unlimited-travel promotion sold out well ahead of its deadline as customers, in spite of the rotten economy, jumped all over the innovative plan. When it came out last week, we wrote a column about it called JetBlue Genius And Hollywood Lunacy and predicted other companies would start turning over more decision-making power to their customers.From a Reuters news report:

The low-cost airline was offering $599 passes that allow holders to travel to any of JetBlue's 56 destinations. The passes are valid between September 8 and October 8. The offer was set to expire on Friday.

"We wanted to ensure those who bought the pass could get the flights they want, so we capped the number of passes we would sell," said JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin. "And we reached that number yesterday."

In our Global CIO column last week about JetBlue, we also discussed an antithetical approach being taken by some Hollywood studios that are trying to stifle low-cost DVD-rental outlets Redbox and Netflix in the hopes of controlling consumer behavior. Such an approach will absolutely, positively fail---it's only a matter of how quickly. Here's how we framed the core issue:

Taking a very different approach, JetBlue last week rocked the inscrutable pricing logic (or lack thereof) of the airline industry by offering an entirely new pricing model for customers: you give us $599, and you can fly anywhere you want in our system as often as you want for an entire month, with very limited restrictions and requirements.

JetBlue is putting freedom and choice and options into the hands of its customers and prospects, while the Hollywood studios are looking to restrict customer choices and options. Which one do you think is more likely to work?

How about within your own company: if your CEO asks you to come up with a JetBlue scenario for your business, what new approaches would you come up with? Do you and your team have in place the flexible IT architecture and operations that will allow high-speed experiments along the lines of the JetBlue model, or you have to tell the CEO that it's going to be 18-24 months before any unique plans can be put into place?

The JetBlue early sell-out shows that customers will reward businesses that give them more choices and greater appropriate levels of control. Are you ready?

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