On August 12th, JetBlue (JBLU) announced an All-You-Can-Jet promotion which allows travelers to fly anywhere JetBlue flies as often as they would like within a month for $599. JetBlue ended the program sooner than expected as response was stronger than anticipated. The program had a number of quirks that make it challenging to track the drivers of its success. For example, you could enroll and book only via phone. The phone-based system may have also facilitated enrollment in JetBlue’s frequent flyer program—required if you were not a member already.
While enrollment and booking was limited to phone, consumers could still visit JetBlue.com to learn more. Compete measured the potential interest by trending daily reach of JetBlue.com before, during, and after the promotion. Reach equals the share of all US Internet users that visited a website.
Reach results corroborate the overall success. In the period, JetBlue captured the highest percentage of all internet users on the two days immediately following the launch of AYCJ (August 12th and August 13th). Reach drops quickly thereafter, but traffic to JetBlue.com may have been supplanted by consumers reading news and other sites that explained the program and included the phone number.
Compete also evaluated reach success over the past year. On average, JetBlue’s reach is 0.09% over the past year. The impact of AYCJ is still evident, but pales in comparison to the March 4, 2009 event. Compete leveraged its archive of homepage screenshots and historical clickstream data to identify this event as a one-day only sample sale, with fares starting at $29. On March 4th, JetBlue reach hit 0.39%, 322% over the yearly average. The All-You-Can-Jet promotion drove reach to 0.29%, or 215% over the yearly average. The results suggest that overall JetBlue may have been more aggressive (or more successful) with promotions in 2009 (several big spikes) than in 2008, again limited to traffic to JetBlue.
Reach is only part of the story, and in many cases with online promotions—travel and otherwise—more traffic is not always high-quality traffic. Because of the integral telephone element of AYCJ, the online impacts may not be immediately obvious. For example, the more the AYCJ bookings were incremental, the lower the corresponding drop in online bookings when the program was active. Longer term impacts could be evident by more travelers engaging with the TrueBlue® loyalty member areas, without a pre-cursor increase in online enrollments (that is, those that enrolled via telephone as part of AYCJ but who later check status and redeem awards online).
But the bottom line question is to what extent any incremental revenue from the program was offset recently and over time by the higher price of telephone-based reservations vs. online reservations, today and longer-term. That’s something only JetBlue may know.