Back in September the airline Jet Blue announced they were to sell 300 flights and holiday packages by auction on ebay.
All 300 flights were sold, with many of the bidders picking up flights at a 40% discount. Some even paid more than the official price on the company’s website.
Whilst it seems like a bold move, it does raise interesting questions about creating niche markets and marketing during time of economic downturn. It also makes use of one of the key elements of auction trading – the liquidation of excess stock – all be it in this case flight inventory.
Many travel companies would rather sell a seat on a flight for something, rather than nothing. Not only have Jet Blue managed to sell these seats for considerably more than a nominal amount, they managed to do this without a reserve and with opening bids of a few cents.
Even when we look at the loss on the stated retail price for these flights, you have to say it was still a winning strategy by the airline’s marketing department. Not only did they make sales, but they managed to raise their profile in a significant way through word of mouth, coverage on the web and in a number of significant media publications.