Travel & Tourism: KLM

We’ve been talking about running different themes here at the ‘heads of late and one that continually pops up over and over is that of Travel and Tourism; who’s engendering positive word of mouth and who isn’t.

Not one to focus on the negatives, I thought I’d kick this session off with a focus on my favourite social-airline; KLM.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (to it its full name) has been playing around in social for a few months now and their activities to date really are quite interesting. Rewind back to December last year and you’ll find this delightful ‘social (media) experiment’ around putting smiles back on the faces of KLM’s travellers.

I’ve talked about ‘Surprise and Delight‘ before and how brands (big and small) can reap success in this area; believe it or not, creating smiles and happiness is a fantastic way to build both customer loyalty and positive conversation.

The great thing about KLM is, they didn’t stop there. After testing the water with the above marketing campaign, they then added social to the care side of the business – with their ‘Extended Service on Social Media‘ initiative.
To quote:

“Want to get that seat by the window, rebook your ticket, or find out how to bring your surf board? Tell us on Facebook, or send us a ‘tweet’!

Ask your question on any day of the week, between 8:00 and 23:00 hours, and we will reply within the hour.

Requests such as rebooking your flight, we try to arrange for you within 24 hours. By using “instant messages” or private messages, your personal data remain protected.”

Good job guys.

Finally, to top it off, last week they launched this neat little viral video to demonstrate the new space available in their business class section.

Being charming, funny, informative and coming in at 1min 40s precisely, the video hits the sweet spot just right. So that’s Marketing, Care and now Comms; all covered off with smart use of social media.

And why? To create positive word of mouth, brand loyalty and of course, ultimately – an uplift in sales.

KLM – we salute you.

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12 thoughts on “Travel & Tourism: KLM”

  1. KLM are a wicked airline. Their attention to detail and the extra mile they go to satisfy customers by leveraging social media is one a lot of airlines can learn from.

    [Reply]

    James Whatley Reply:

    That's great to hear Justin, are you talking from first hand experience?

    [Reply]

  2. My most recent experience with KLM was disastrous. Pre-flight, I followed them on foursquare (and maybe twitter) and I found their online check-in to be utterly fantastic (being able to check in via mobile web was fantastic). Unfortunately I was caught in the December snowpocalypse at Schippol airport, and this is where things took a turn for the worst.
    Despite the fact that almost all planes were cancelled, KLM did very little to get information out to passengers. The KLM desk was not staffed. The only place where I could find someone to talk to was at the KLM executive lounge and there I was treated as a nuisance, rather than a valued customer. The entire following day I was given different information by different people, only getting a flight home when enough people turned up at the same gate (which was the wrong one) for staff to do something about it. Everyone I spoke to “just wanted to know what was going on”.
    To be fair, they did get some things right: we got wifi access (as long as we sat on the floor outside the executive lounge), and we eventually got camp beds in an unused waiting area, they gave us some sandwiches and water (the last three things being a legal minimum requirement, I believe). What went wrong was the dissemination of information and the treatment of already tired and fed-up customers.
    Sadly, the way I was treated by the two airline 'bouncers' at the KLM lounge couple with the lack of information on the first night is enough to stop me wanting to fly with KLM again. I was offered a 10 euro food voucher and 50 euros off my next KLM flight. My next flight home (from Japan) will not be with KLM.
    It seems like when things go wrong, social media would be an excellent way of getting information out there, but when they aren't even using the public address system at the airport, it's a bit redundant.

    [Reply]

    James Whatley Reply:

    Thanks for the extra insight Joe, sad to hear you had such a poor experience.

    My only point here would be that [from what you're telling me at least] the failure here was an a communications level and not at a social media level. From what I read of the 'snowpocalypse' at the time, it caught a fair few airlines off-guard and KLM was one of the unfortunate ones.

    Alas *using* social media can only be so good if you have something to share. During your time at the airport, it doesn't seem like *anyone* had any information, let alone those controlling the Twitter and Facebook channels.

    Just shows how one bad experience can put you off a brand for life though, irrespective of cause or reason.

    If KLM are reading this now [and one would think their listening platforms/agencies have picked this post up], then how could they go about winning you back as a customer I wonder?

    [Reply]

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