Travel & Tourism: Got Klout?

I’m an ardent supporter of all things Foursquare-related; be that through either [on a consumer level] meaningless badges acquired through a specific number of check ins or [on the brand side] a fairly robust off-the-shelf loyalty card system – I think the possibilities with the platform, should it hit critical mass, are endless. But that’s just me.

Something that is yet to measure Foursquare’s impact in social media [but yet shares a similar ‘is it any good or not’ debate] is KLOUT

The self-proclaimed ‘Standard for Influence’ uses over 35 different variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure ‘True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score’. Influence, according to Klout, is the ability to drive people to action.

This is something I can on board with, certainly.

All right there is a healthy amount of well-deserved scepticism, but when big hotel chains start getting involved in this kind of thing then it’s time for the rest of the industry to sit up and take notice.

A few examples —

Since September last year the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has been building out what it refers to as ‘The Klout Club’ – whereupon checking into the hotel in question (actual checking in, not foursquare checking in), you may well be asked ‘What’s your Twitter name?’ so that your Klout score can be measured there and then.

The Palms believe that this will allow high-ranking influencers to experience their ‘impressive set of amenities’ in hopes that these ‘influencers’ will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers.

You got a bajillion followers with an awesome Klout rating? You get the jacuzzi!

Foursquare mayorships this ain’t.

There’s more…

Earlier than that, in June last year, Virgin America was using Klout to pick and choose which influencers to reward with their free flights to Toronto program. OK it was a tie-up to a new route launch but, as adding a social media element to your PR goes, I’ve certainly seen worse.

Key takeaways?

As we move into a more open world and social media becomes much more widely accepted, these industry early adopters are laying the ground for other, larger influence campaigns in the future and yet, while folk will often try and game the system, it seem that building your online reputation may well be having some long term benefits.

I’m fairly sure that with all the good will aside, KLM definitely picked the more influential of their passengers to bestow their gifts upon [and don’t even get me started on which online voices the Old Spice guy started tweeting to], all of which begs the question:

Which is more important; the amount of people you make happy, or the amount of people that know you did it?

Answers, debate and commentary welcome below…