Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jetstar promotion - if you do this, this, this, that and pay more then we'll do something for you

Jetstar is Australia's third domestic carrier - the low cost off shoot of Qantas. They were launched a few years back by Qantas to fight the increasing market share gains of Virgin Blue. While Virgin Blue have broken a number of the low cost carrier rules with lounges, flexible tickets, fixed seating and more, Jetstar has proven itself to be an old fashion low cost carrier with no arranged seating and flying to secondary airports (who even knew Australia had secondary airports). Virgin Blue have been doing as much to fight Qantas at the top of the market with service as they have to fight Jetstar at the bottom with prince. It has found DJ (Virgin Blue two letter code) stuck in the middle.

To continue the squeeze and prove their pedigree in the price competition, Jetstar have launched a new fare guarantee campaign. They guarantee to double the difference if you find a lower fare. Great idea for a campaign - right? Should generate good press and help build up the price credibility story- right? It would, except in a classic low cost carrier move (and Qantas move for that matter) the terms and conditions are so rigorous and ridiculous that it is more likely to annoy customers, than win them over.

This is what you have to do to claim your "double the difference"
  1. Find the lower fare
  2. Call the Jetstar call centre - making sure there is availability in the competitors fare and ONLY ONE CLASS of Jetstar fare
  3. Departure of the lower fare must be within one hour of departure of the compared Jetstar fare
  4. Wait for Jetstar to verify
  5. BOOK THE MORE EXPENSIVE FARE WITH JETSTAR
  6. Then A VOUCHER voucher for a subsequent purchase will be sent for double the difference VALID FOR ONLY SIX MONTHS.
Who the hell in the marketing department thought this would be a good deal for customers. You have jump through a series of hoops to prove that Jetstar is more expensive, then you actually have to buy a more expensive ticket to get vouchers that have a very limited time of validity. Jetstar can avoid liability by simply closing out a class of fare. Price guarantees are simple - find a more expensive fare and we'll match it or give you x% off. Easy. When you make marketing promises that are complicated and painful for consumers they will inevitably have the opposite effect by generating bad experiences and word of mouth.

5 comments:

Ross Hill said...

That marketing department didn't make the terms, the finance department did. Just because they make the deal doesn't mean they want you to follow through and make them pay up.

Gotta make the bucks add up :)

sky said...

You have provided a useful information on how these marketers fail. I am waiting for your next post...

Alistair said...

I said exactly the same thing to my wife the day we saw it on TV. Whilst the idea of the promotion is quite fine, I couldn't see myself or anyone I know following through with it.

Some might argue that is what they want, press without costing them money - however I think the average consumer would have put one and one together as well. If the average consumer did put it together, do you really think it was quality advertising or do you think the average consumer came away thinking that it was just another attempt to rip them off which by offering the world and providing peanuts?

Tim Hughes said...

The adage - any publicity is good publicity - does not apply to circumstances where to fail to meet a customer's expectations or make a customer feel like they were cheated. In many ways you have to respect the Ryanair approach of passengers being "self loading baggage". Jetstar's challenge is that they are trying to emulate the cost side of the Ryanair model but without the expectation setting that cost cutting means as a customer all you get for your ticket is a bus with wings.

evans said...

The internet can be a complicated place - especially for anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience or knowledge about modern technology.