Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's start the year off with annoying our competitor!

It has been a long time since my last post. Teaching and other duties has stolen my time, however my intention is to be more active in 2010. Gotta try to keep those New Year's resolutions.

So, a Danish-based airline, Cimber-Sterling is in a fierce battle with another Scandinavian carrier, Norwegian. Norwegian increased their presence in Denmark once Sterling went bankrupt, with Cimber eventually acquiring the brand (note the airline's name now). These two carriers, along with SAS, and to a smaller extent Transavia, are battling it out on various routes.

Cimber-Sterling has been serving the domestic route, Copenhagen-Karup (click here for some geography), for some time. Norwegian recently decided that it wanted to enter this market and to drum up some interest for their presence they sold tickets for 1 DKK (approximately 19 US cents or 13 Euro cents), which included all taxes and fees. Cimber-Sterling was soon going to have a growing competitor on its route and some employees decided to annoy Norwegian. So, how did they do that? They bought a few tickets for 1 DKK and gave the passengers funny or famous names. They had no intention of using the tickets purchased. The problem is they didn't just buy a few, they bought a lot. One pilot admitted to buying 458 tickets. For an article on the event see here.

Supporters of Norwegian say that this is smart marketing and is a good investment. While Cimber-Sterling supporters say that Norwegian is dumping prices and using unfair tactics.

So, I am soliciting comments to such an event. What do the readers think? Is it proper for an airline to sell tickets below cost, or for free for that matter, to drum up interest? Is it proper for a company to annoy a competitor buy purchasing their below-cost product to limit potential customers?

The story isn't finished because Cimber-Sterling has promised to report results from its independent investigation. Norwegian offered the 1 DKK sale again, but it resulted in so many false bookings...again, that they have decided to merely sell tickets at a higher price.

1 comment:

Thomas Hill said...

I think it was only right for Norwegian to come up with such a marketing tactic. It's a big business they're running, not just some lemonade stand. What I'm not in favor of is the act of annoying your competitors. It seems pretty childish, you know. Companies who have such immature competitors should just continue providing excellent service to their clients. That would move them forward, way past their detractors.