Would you guarantee somebody else's product? It sounds scary, but
retailers do it all the time. You've heard the ads: "Buy from Big
Al. If it doesn't work, forget the warranty. Just bring it back and
Big Al will refund your money, no questions asked."
Big Al may or may not have a deal with the manufacturer, but the
customer doesn't care. All the customer knows is that Big Al stands
behind the product.
The airlines don't have a Big Al. They don't even have a Little
Al. Nobody guarantees the airlines' schedule performance. In fact,
the airlines don't even guarantee their schedule performance. Come
to think of it, some intermediaries in this business don't even
guarantee the airline's name.
Hal Rosenbluth may have just changed all that.
Every once in a while, a company launches a product, introduces
an innovation, a new way of doing things, and manages to change
forever the way everybody else looks at the business.
It's a little early yet, but that may have just happened on the
Rosenbluth Interactive Web site, Biztravel.com, which now features the Biztravel
The guarantee states that bookings on five airlines (Air France,
American, British Airways, Continental and US Airways) come with a
guarantee. If the airline messes up your seat assignment, the
travel agency will pay you $25. It will pay you up to $200 for
incidentals if your luggage gets lost.
If your choice of entree is not available in first or business
class, the travel agency will pay $25. Biztravel.com also pays $100
if the flight arrives 30 minutes late, $200 if it is 60 minutes
late and it offers a full refund if the flight is canceled.
OK, it's a gimmick to stimulate bookings on the Web site. But
this gimmick resonates with originality and daring.
Rosenbluth Interactive said the company wanted to "send a
message and provide some leadership."
We'd say, "Mission accomplished."