SOCIAL MEDIA

KLM adds passenger reviews and ratings to flight search results

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Recently, a growing number of online travel agents and airlines have partnered with third-party data providers TripAdvisor and Routehappy to help customers learn more about the quality of their flight.

By sharing candid details of the passenger experience airlines could move beyond commodity pricing and beyond competition solely on fares, instead giving customer fact-based metrics about their products which would justify a higher fare.

There is an important precedent for this change in consumer mindset in the hospitality sector. Today’s informed and savvy travellers are making their hotel choices based on ‘reputation pricing’ —the correlation between a brand’s online reputation and the premium it can charge. This shift from ‘sticker price’ bookings to bookings based on the quality of the experience has been one of the big positive effects of TripAdvisor on the hotel industry.

Rate My Flight
Social and digital frontrunner, KLM is taking transparency to the next level by sharing the feedback it gathers directly from passengers with customers who are looking to book a ticket with the airline.

After extensive experimentation, KLM started showing star ratings and reviews in the search flow of the KLM website in June of this year.

Customers searching for a flight can see the actual reviews from previous passengers who have flown that flight in the past, based on reviews collected from KLM passengers using the airline’s ‘Rate My Flight’ feature. Read full article »

China Eastern trials ‘intelligent personal assistant’ for in-flight service

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By Kai-Chin Shih, >talkairlines

As airlines around the world are currently in the process of developing an digital inflight infrastructure (e.g, Internet connectivity, aircraft intranet, inflight portal) and the latest generation of in-seat IFE systems has adopted the Android platform, the next phase for airlines is to develop innovative applications that differentiaite to the passenger experience.

For example, on the IFE system of its new B787 Dreamliners, Air New Zealand and Panasonic have created a ‘digital crew call button’ app that lets passengers message the crew, as well as a dedicated digital button to order a glass of water and have it brought to their seat.

Similar functionality has now also been rolled out by China Eastern – China’s second largest carrier by passenger numbers. The airline is not using the seat back IFE system, though, but has partnered with Microsoft to develop an airline-specific version of Microsoft’s ‘XiaoIce’ (東航小冰) intelligent personal assistant.

Intelligent Personal Assistants
‘XiaoIce’ – which translated a ‘Little Ice’ – is an intelligent personal assistant (IPA) launched by Microsoft in 2014. IPAs are software programs that can complete tasks assigned by the user or provide answers to users’ questions.

Currently, the most widely known IPA is Apple’s Siri, which uses voice recognition to send messages, make calls and obtain answers to simple questions, such as those related to the weather and historical facts, on behalf of users.

Microsoft also has developed its own IPAs, respectively called Cortana and XiaoIce. While Cortana provides functions similar to that of Siri and can only be accessed through Windows-based devices, XiaoIce has been developed to be used on social media sites such as Sina Weibo, can be used virtually anywhere. XiaoIce learns from not only past conversations with the user but also those from all around China. With these resources, it can engage in very life-like conversations and has a bit of a funny character of its own. Read full article »

KLM takes ‘social service’ to a new level with #HappyToHelp campaign

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

KLM, known for its savvy social service and innovative marketing campaigns, took both to new levels last week with a bold #HappyToHelp campaign.

Starting with the premise that the best promotion for customer service is great customer service, a dedicated team scanned social media during five days for passengers facing travel woes throughout the world, and responded with a creative and relevant #HappytoHelp answer produced and personalised for single passengers in real-time – even when those passengers were not travelling with KLM.

On- and offline
Selected problems would then be solved in a variety of ways, ranging from actual physical intervention, such as helping someone retrieve a forgotten passport and still make their flight, to providing one-to-one advice or information through social media.

During the week, KLM’s social media team could rely on the back-up from a team of fast-producing creative people from KLM’s creative agency Tribal DDB with different skills to produce content. Answers ranged from a simple text message to an Instagram picture, a Vine, or YouTube video.

For example, KLM staff made a wake up call over the phone and offered breakfast at the airport (video here) to a traveller who had to get up early to catch her flight, provided a tailored weather report to a traveller who was unsure what to pack for that last minute trip to Ibiza, and recorded a video with personalized Spanish language lessons to a traveller flying to Mexico.

The airline even hired a speed boat on the Hudson River (video) to help out passengers who risked missing a flight–any flight–due to being stuck in traffic on their way to JFK. “Imagine the impact if you are not flying with KLM but it is KLM that gets to the airport,” says Pol Hoenderboom, creative director at Tribal DDB Amsterdam. Read full article »

KLM’s ‘Lost & Found Team’ aims to return lost items to passengers on the spot

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

With nearly 7 million Facebook fans and 1.3 million followers on Twitter, and a wide range of social media initiatives, the KLM brand has become synonymous with social media innovation. The latest initiative by the airline is utilizing social media for an instant ‘lost & found’ service.

Instant lost & found
Every week, KLM receives 40,000 questions via social media. One of the most asked questions is about getting lost items back. This inspired KLM to set up a dedicated ‘Lost & Found’ team at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which aims to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner. From a teddy bear found by the cabin crew to a laptop left in the lounge.

The team uses all available information like seat number, phone numbers and public social media details to reunite passengers with their belongings. Very often the Lost & Found team is able to surprise passengers by returning their personal belongings before they have even missed them. Despite the challenge of locating the owner, first results show that over 80 percent of the found items can now be reunited with their owners.

How it works
Air France-KLM SVP eBusiness Martijn van der Zee earlier this year explained to Dutch publication Marketingfacts how the new service works.

“The current situation is that if a passenger forgets his or her iPad on board and walks through customs, all we can do is to refer to the airport. This is very frustrating, especially when passengers realize shortly after they have left the aircraft that they have forgotten something, contact KLM and we can do nothing for them. The lost and found process can take a few weeks instead, which gives an enormous bureaucratic feeling. We know this is a weakness and we mostly know that through social media.”

“We have now appointed two people at the airport who constantly look for things that are lost. They walk past the gates to collect items and then try to find the owners on the spot by approaching them, often via social media. In many cases passengers have not even realized yet they have forgotten something and really go out of their minds when they receive their lost item back.” Read full article »

The Social Tree at Singapore Changi Airport lets passengers leave a ‘digital memento’

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Singapore’s Changi Airport has just unveiled an interesting art installation, called The Social Tree, which plugs into a trend dubbed “Life Caching” by trendwatching.com

At close to nine metres tall and 11 metres in diameter, The Social Tree is surrounded by eight touch-screen photo booths that enable travellers to ‘attach’ their photos onto the colourful and animated crown of the structure, which is made up of 64 giant 42-inch high-definition screens. Together, the screens offer a 360-degree display of various animated backgrounds including a mystical forest, a deep sea environment, and the Singapore skyline. Travellers can also post photos and videos taken at the booths on their social networking profiles.

Passengers are encouraged to store their photo/video memories with a unique login & password combination, inviting them to become part of Changi Airport’s history by leaving behind a photo or video of themselves which will be kept for decades to come. Travellers – and their families – can retrieve and re-live their digital memories at Changi Airport from this “memory capsule.”

Comments Yeo Kia Thye, SVP for Airport Operations, Changi Airport Group, “We live in a world where digital communities form part of our everyday life. We see hope to see The Social Tree grow into a digital community at Changi Airport, offering a connection over time for our passengers who may pass through Changi many times in their lives. It also provides a social element for our more than 52 million passengers each year to reach out to family and friends.”

The trunk of The Social Tree is made up of 100 aluminum bars that uses LED lighting, producing an array of colours. The installation is located at the center of Terminal 1, immediately after the immigration counters.

The Social Tree follows the upgrading of Singapore Changi’s Terminal 1 last year which saw the installation of a so-called ‘Kinetic Rain’ sculpture in the Departure Hall of T1.

Passengers on Delta’s ‘Beta Plane’ can submit their ideas via Wi-Fi

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

We have reported several times before how airlines and airports are teaming up with the general public in order to generate ideas for new products and services.

As this trend matures, airlines such as KLM, SAS and Finnair have gone beyong incidental crowdsourcing campaigns by launching broad co-creation programs to improve the passenger experience.

KLM ‘Bright Ideas’, for example, asks Facebook fans to share and discuss their ideas to improve KLM’s products and services. Scandinavian Airlines’ ‘My SAS Idea’ is an online community where anyone can share their ideas and others can join in to further improve on each idea. Finnair’s Quality Hunters – now in its third year – invites a select group of enthusiasts to come up with ideas which are then shared online with the larger community.

Delta ‘Ideas In Flight’
In 2011, Delta teamed with “scientists and thinkers” conference TED (slogan: “Ideas Worth Spreading”) to generate innovative crowd-sourced ideas to improve the travel experience. Called ‘Ideas in Flight’, the program uses curated TEDTalks as thought-starters to inspire participants across technology, entertainment, design, etcetera. Ideas could be submitted through a dedicated tab on the Delta Facebook page.

In February of this year, Delta launched the second edition of Ideas In Flight. Similar to the 2011 edition, any Delta Facebook fan could contribute via Delta’s Facebook page and a voting system allows Delta and users to see what ideas are popular, and which ones will be considered to be implemented on the flight.
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Lufthansa lets frequent flyers become the ‘foursquare mayor’ of a route

By Shubhodeep Pal, SimpliFlying

Lufthansa’s “Blue Legends” Facebook app is one of the first ten “Connected Apps” to be offered as a product of Foursquare‘s new development platform. In a nutshell, Foursquare now allows developers to create apps that offer customized experiences to customers based on their check-ins.

Lufthansa has seized this new opportunity in the Foursquare eco system to create official Lufthansa venues (including over 9,000 flights named in the format “Lufthansa Flight LH 400″) where users can check-in virtually to get special badges, ranks and rewards.

For instance, once connected with Foursquare and Facebook, you can earn badges such as the “Early-Bird-badge” by checking in before 6 in the morning. There are more virtual goodies as you fly more on Lufthansa (and, of course, remember to check-in to their official locations).

One of the undeniably attractive features of the app is that its written in HTML5 which allows it to be accessed from almost every platform – desktop and mobile – with ease, without being confined to a closed app ecosystem (such as iOS or Android).

An increasingly “gamified” and location-aware world
As you move up the ladder, you’ll find that the badges and ranks (similar to mayorships) are increasingly targeted towards frequent flyers. Lufthansa believes that this customized experience by offering special virtual badges in recognition for flying the airline will “open a whole new dimension of social travel experience for frequent flyers who can not only track their countries and airports they’ve visited with the app but can compete with their friends to become the “Expert Pilot” on a route between two cities.” This rank is given to the person who has travelled most between two destinations – independent from the Lufthansa flight he took or airport of the city he travelled to.
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SAS promotes free coffee and tea on short-haul flights with design contest

Scandinavian Airlines is one of the few ‘full-service’ airlines in Europe that let passengers in Economy on European flights pay seperately for their drinks and meals. Brussels Airlines and Iberia are among European airlines with a similar catering service on short-haul flights, while no doubt other European full-service carriers are contemplating this concept for their loss-making short-haul operations.

However, as complimentary coffee and tea in Economy is “one of the most asked for products by customers”, SAS at the end of January 2012 reintroduced the free amenity on all its domestic and European routes.

“Free tea and coffee, but the design is up to you”
To promote the introduction of the ‘upgraded’ service, SAS has just launched a public contest for the design of a new paper mug (current design here) to be used on its flights. In the airline’s words: “Now we serve free coffee and tea to everyone on our flights, both domestic and to the rest of the world. You can make sure that we do it in style. Take part in our competition to design the new coffee cups on SAS flights. If your design is the best one, not only will we serve coffee and tea in YOUR design to more than 70.000 passengers every day, but you will also get 100.000 EuroBonus Extra-points.”


Participants in the contest have to use a template for their design and can submit it at flysas.com/design before February 29th 2012. A SAS jury will then select the ten best designs, which will presented on the campaign website www.flysas.com/design and on SAS’ social media channels in the first week of March. After the general public has casted their votes for their favourite design, the winning design will be announced 20 March 2012 and will be featured on the cups for 3 to 6 months.
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KLM offers its Facebook fans the chance to be featured on a ‘Delft Blue’ Boeing 777

KLM has just launched a new social media campaign that invites Facebook users to convert their Facebook profile picture into a Delft Blue tile with an inspiring message. Four thousand of the most inspiring ‘Dutch Delft Blue tiles’ will then be placed on the body of a KLM Boeing 777-200. In KLM’s words: “KLM is proud of its Dutch heritage, in which Delftware played a huge role. Now KLM invites you to create your own Delft Blue tile, add an inspirational saying and you might end up on the body of a KLM Boeing 777-200.”

Delft Blue tiles are part of the Dutch tradition. The porcelain tiles were decorated with typically Dutch scenes, such as windmills or fishing boats. These Dutch scenes were commonly supported by some words of wisdom or an inspirational proverb. For nearly 60 years, KLM has also handed out small Delft Blue ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with Dutch ‘genever’ to passengers in Business Class.

The emphasis of KLM’s ‘Tile & Inspire’ campaign is on Facebook, but anyone can also create a personal Delft Blue tile via tileyourself.com and Hyves, the largest social network in the Netherlands. The campaign will run until the end of May 2011 and the tiles with the most creative messages will be selected by a jury of native speakers in English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish. The final 4,000 Delft Blue tiles will be randomly drawn out of the selected tiles and be featured on a KLM B777-200 aircraft from June 16 on. See this video for more on the campaign.

Update 10 May: KLM reports that in the first two weeks of the campaign nearly 50,000 people have created a personal Delft blue tile. Read full article »

Gatwick Airport wants travelers to tweet their feedback while at the airport

London Gatwick Airport is actively encouraging travelers at the airport to post complaints, feedback, and suggestions in 140 characters or less via Twitter. As part of a pilot programme, information screens in the check-in areas display the following message – “Are you on Twitter? Get in touch with us @gatwick_airport and let us know about your experience at Gatwick today”.

With this new initiative Gatwick Airport has basically set up a customer service system that addresses traveler’s needs in real time. Gatwick has been active on Twitter since August 2010, and often responds to comments, but according to the airport, “this now takes it one step further by actually integrating social media into the physical space of the airport”. Twitter replies from staff are currently only offered during office hours, as most other airports and airlines do. The plan however is to extend the Twitter service to run 24 hours a day. Read full article »

Jet Airways rewards frequent flyers for Tripadvisor reviews

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Jet Airways and TripAdvisor India have teamed up in a mutual promotion to attract both new members for Jet Airways’ frequent flyer programme and to increase the number of reviews by Indian travellers on TripAdvisor India. TripAdvisor India was launched in September 2008. The promotion lets members of JetPrivilege, the frequent flyer program of Jet Airways, earn basic JPMiles by writing hotel reviews on tripadvisor.in.

The amount of JPMiles frequent flyers can earn depends on the number of hotel reviews written and published on TripAdvisor. Writing 3 to 6 reviews will get them 500 miles, and 7 or more reviews will earn 1000 miles, with a maximum of 4000 JPMiles per year. Five members that post a minimum of 10 reviews per quarter five members stand a chance to win 5000 bonus JPMiles each. Members who post their hotel reviews between December 3, 2009 and December 31, 2009, receive a 20% bonus JPMiles.
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The Amateur-Expert Traveller

Amadeus has just released a new consumer trends report, called ‘The Amateur-Expert Traveller’. According to the study, today’s travellers are more knowledgeable, more adventurous and more likely to live in an emerging economy than ever before. The report is the latest in the series of trend reports by Amadeus, which also include ‘The Austere Traveller’ and ‘Future Travel Tribes 2020’.

The Internet is the major force behind the emergence of the ‘Amateur-Expert Traveller’, making the travel market much  more transparent by putting detailed information at the fingertips of the average traveller. Empowered by the likes of TripAdvisor, Zoover, SeatGuru, Bing Travel and TripWolf, knowledgeable travellers often know more what to expect about their flight, accomodation and destination than most travel, airline or hotel agents. They are also more demanding as their expectations of service have diverged: Today, travellers either expect a totally touchless online self-service experience, or they expect a very high level of personalised service.
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Virgin Atlantic links up passengers to share a taxi

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Virgin Atlantic has launched a new service, called taxi² that helps passengers find other travellers to share taxi rides into city centres across the world. The airline says the reason for launching the service is that “we think it’s crazy that people often wait in line and then get one taxi each. Most people go from the airport in a similar direction, so it’s a great waste.” 

How it works: Passengers log onto the service and enter their flight and destination details and the website will match them with a suitable travelling companion. They are then sent the details of the matched traveller and can decide whether to agree to the match and make arrangements of where to meet upon their flight arrival. Passengers can also print off a taxi²  sign from the website so they can locate each other at the airport. The system also matches female travelers who only want female travelling companions. The program is not limited to Virgin Atlantic customers and passengers on other airlines can share rides as well.
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Lufthansa MySkyStatus lets passengers auto-tweet their flight position

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Lufthansa USA has rolled out a new tool that lets air travelers share their location during their journeys via Twitter and Facebook. Called MySkyStatus, the application takes a user’s flight information, including departure and arrival data, and matches it to real-time global air traffic data. It then synchronises with their Facebook or Twitter page, posting regular updates about departure, arrival and even which country they are flying over. The messages also come with a link to a Google Maps mashup that shows their plane’s location. MySkyStatus users can choose whether to have only their departures and arrivals shared or also send messages (as often as hourly) with updates of their positions in the air.

The MySkyStatus service is part of Lufthansa’s new marketing campaign ‘Passion for Precision’, and aims to back up the carrier’s reputation for punctuality. Passengers do not have to be travelling with Lufthansa to use the service.  Every update is ‘lufthansa-branded’ (a short “powered by Lufthansa” is tacked on to every update), so those using the service for flights on other carriers will still be delivering some free promotion for Lufthansa.
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