The Real Value of Cheap Seats


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Greetings.  Last week our friends at JetBlue held a one-day seat sale, selling tickets to many popular destinations for only $10 each way (plus taxes and fees). Sure there were some strings attached.  First, you had to book your seats by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Monday, May 10th, and fly on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Second, there were a limited number of seats available.  And third, certain flights and destinations were excluded from the promotion.  But it was still a great deal if you were flexible enough to use it–i.e., if you had a last minute trip you needed to make, had no pressing work obligations, had no kids living at home who required adult supervision, or had recently retired.  Unfortunately, I didn’t fit in any of these categories.  Yet I still imagined making a quick visit to San Francisco or Barbados.

So what would possess this airline to practically give away travel?  After all, this is one of America’s highest-rated air carriers and a company with a value proposition that includes award-winning service, best in class legroom combined with comfortable leather seating, free onboard TV, free snacks, and no charge for the first checked bag.  Is it simply the desire to fill unsold seats and generate a bit more revenue in a slowly improving marketplace?  Or is it a great way to win more customers and gain market share?

In a down economy the smartest companies are often focused on creative ways to expand their customer base, and that often means “giving away” something as a way to demonstrate their compelling value.  It’s a way to challenge the world of potential customers to compare their offerings with those of the companies they currently do business with.  In this case, the opportunity to see if there really is a difference between JetBlue and the other larger airlines that dominate the market for air travel.  

Which got me thinking about all of our companies and organizations and whether or not we could get the attention of potential customers by giving away something of value.  Something like knowledge and insight, or a free product or service, or a free answer to a pressing question, or a free assessment, or a free presentation or a free day of consulting, or a free meal or a free ticket, or anything else that might change their thinking about just how different and valuable we might be as a vendor and a partner.

We win in business by creating the opportunity to demonstrate our real value.  In a tough economy this might mean offering something valuable for free or a fraction of its worth.  Maybe it’s time to think about your world from 36,000 feet up.

Cheers and have safe travels in the week ahead!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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