JetBlue wants to offer dynamic packaging to
its passengers, and it is setting up direct links with hotels and
other nonair suppliers to make that happen.
Because JetBlue is
regarded as one of the airline industrys presumed trendsetters, our
ears perked up when we heard some of JetBlues reasoning for the
As a JetBlue
official explained it, the carrier wants to bypass wholesale
intermediaries so it can control the supplier relationship and
control content. A key consideration is to steer the consumer to
suppliers that match the JetBlue brand.
Its an interesting
development that JetBlue wants to get into dynamic packaging. It is
also interesting that JetBlue sees this as an occasion for
protecting and enhancing its brand image.
But implicit in
JetBlues explanation of its strategy is the idea that working in an
intermediary channel is bad for the brand, bad for
Contrast this initiative
with another piece of recent news from the airline sector: This
week we report that Frontier has a new deal with Apple Vacations
that gives the intermediary control over some inventory.
operators and vacation packagers get bulk space from airlines all
the time, Frontier and Apple say their deal involves a prepurchase
commitment and a revenue guarantee for the airline, meaning that
Apple is taking inventory risk -- something that travel
intermediaries rarely do.
Frontier are frequently mentioned in the same breath as examples of
the new breed of user-friendly, techno-savvy airlines that will
inherit the earth when the dinosaurs finally go away. Maybe they
will. But they are choosing vastly different approaches to their
involvement in packaging, and these differences suggest that there
is more than one way to be a user-friendly, techno-savvy airline,
just as theres more than one way to be a dinosaur.
This is not to say
that either airline is getting it right or getting it wrong, but it
is useful to remember that the dinosaurs got into the fix theyre in
partly because they became control freaks and chose after
deregulation to control their connecting traffic, their feeder
airlines, their frequent travelers, their intermediaries, their
distribution technology and even where their customers spent their
Our Centerpiece feature in the March 28
issue looks at a welcome trend: The recognition by a broadening
array of destinations and suppliers that its in their interests to
get their marketing message to gay and lesbian travelers. Its a
demographic with a proven track record of traveling more, spending
more and staying loyal to suppliers, merchants and destinations
that make them feel welcome.
In that respect,
the gay traveler is just like any other traveler with money to
spend, and history has shown that friendly outsells hostile every
additional details on this article in the March 28 issue of Travel