Thursday, March 19, 2009
This morning Priceline announced an airfare price reduction protection promotion. Similar to Orbitz's Price Assurance (which is not a limited time promotion) Priceline's Pricedrop Protection offers consumers a rebate back on their airline tickets if another Priceline customer books the same flights, dates etc at a cheaper price prior to travel.
We'll see if this "promotion" becomes a permanent feature or not but we bet it will - we've heard it has been highly successful for Orbitz in retaining customers and improving conversion rates.
In a fairly direct slam on both Travelocity and Orbitz (the latter has yet to announce a reduction in booking fees) Priceline claims "The new promotion, which is free to consumers, is ground-breaking because it makes priceline.com the only major online travel agency to offer no booking fees and automatic Pricedrop Protection on its published-price airfares and vacation packages." This message is consistent with Priceline's value consumer positioning - it also increases the pressure on Orbitz to make a move with regard to booking fees. Someone else (who doesn't have booking fees) now offers pricing protection.... And what of Yapta?