JetBlue is making a foray into the short term rental business, adding to its growing non-air portfolio of businesses that include JetBlue Vacations, travel insurance, car rentals, ridesharing, and cruises. It could come as early as the end of the year.
JetBlue will team up with a yet un-named partner but will offer the accommodations under its own brand and manage the customer service in-house, according to a report from Skift. Airbnb and Vrbo have been named as potential partners.
Andres Barry, president of JetBlue Travel Products, a subsidiary of the airline, shared the plans yesterday at the Morgan Stanley conference.
JetBlue will curate its short term rental offerings based on its customer data and brand standard, and it will provide the servicing.
This oversight of its short term rental offerings will give customers a greater assurance – and convenience – that issues that arise from any part of their trip would be handled simply through JetBlue’s customer service team, not with a number of different partners.
“The typical model in this world is you buy a product, and then if you have a question, call the partner,” Barry said. “And what we’re saying is, no, no, we’re slowly but surely taking over the servicing. So if there’s anything that you have a question on or make a change, it’s all handled through JetBlue.”
Barry noted that in 2018, the company had projected operating income from its non-air products to be $100 million in 2022. The company believes it can achieve $100 million even with “like 4 percent or 5 percent of JetBlue customer base to really invest in buying all their travel through us.”
The goal is to get a small percentage of its customer to buy their entire trip through JetBlue.
Travel companies like Expedia, Booking Holdings, and even Airbnb, who had considered expanding into hotels and air travel prior to the pandemic, all aim to get a greater percentage of their customers to buy their entire trip through them.
photo credit: jetblue