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
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
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.”