by Hunter R. Slaton | December 01, 2007

JetBlue plane
New discounts for
planners take wing.

Ten months after popular upstart airline JetBlue, based in Forest Hills, N.Y., announced its CompanyBlue Meetings program to service corporate meeting planners, it is preparing to launch Phase II of the program, which is designed specifically for convention groups.

According to Chad Meyerson, manager of group, meeting and convention sales for JetBlue, the expansion of CompanyBlue Meetings is a natural response to the positive interest he and his team have received about the program.

“We began to get a lot of questions about convention or association bookings,” according to Meyerson. Now, he added, with Phase II set to launch in the first quarter of 2008, CompanyBlue Meetings is readying its answer.

The program will work as follows: A planner for a convention or association meeting will contact CompanyBlue Meetings and get his or her event set up with a unique link or code. The planner will then e-mail that link or code to all potential attendees, who subsequently will be able to book their travel directly with JetBlue, either online or by telephone.

“Each booker will be able to get his or her own discount, since each will be booking individually as opposed to in a group,” said Meyerson.

The system also will allow each meeting’s organizing body to track attendance for the event as reservations are made.

The impetus for the overall CompanyBlue Meetings program grew out of conversations Meyerson and his team had with a group of planners regarding how JetBlue could make their jobs easier. Many expressed concern over the trend within the airline industry toward the elimination of group and meetings programs.

Planners also said they believed their segment of the market to be very different from leisure or corporate travel, and they felt neglected by the major air carriers, some of which have cut back on their offerings for groups in recent years.

This valuable feedback led to JetBlue’s creation of CompanyBlue Meetings. And, since the program’s inception, says Meyerson, “the response we’ve been getting has all been positive.”

Convention and association planners soon will have their turn to benefit from the new program. As of this writing, JetBlue was engaged in developing the website portion of CompanyBlue Meetings Phase II, making sure that it is streamlined and easy to use.

When Phase II goes live, Meyerson said, “Attendees will be able to call us [to book their flights], leaving planners with one less thing to deal with.”