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Social Networking in Travel – KLM Airlines

We all know Web 2.0 (or Travel 2.0) are the current buzz words. We also know that Social Networking sites in travel are the trend of the present. I have written about a few of them over the

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(VibeAgent, PairUp, Airtroductions), but we haven’t really seen much from travel suppliers in the hotel, airline, or tourism industry, have we?

Well, I was quite surprised that of all possible travel verticals, the airline industry would be the first (at least to my knowledge) to launch social networking sites. KLM has just recently launched customer-centric online communities that connects business

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people doing business in China and Africa. KLM is also planning to launch communities for India and Russia,

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as well as lifestyles – and has recently launched Golf as the first sport-themed social networking community. Why emerging markets? Well, entrepreneurs that are looking to connect with like-minded business people to get tips and tricks on how to engage and interact in those countries have been signing up and log-in at least once a month on average. In addition to making contacts, KLM also organizes offline club events for members and provides benefits such as free airport transfers.

However, when an airline can do it, what about hotels or destinations. I would think that Club-themed resorts such as Club Med, Sandals, etc. could build communities, as well as Vacation Ownership and Private Residence Clubs. Interesting…my question: is this the new wave of innovative CRM strategies, and can it be a shift from expensive loyalty points programs? Is there a way to increase loyalty and increase revenues by building social networking sites in travel, or is it just a fad? In any event, I thought KLM’s efforts were an innovative way of leveraging technology and the Internet by capturing a need in the market.

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Comment by Kevin Nicholas
2008-04-11 12:35:20

Speaking of hotels, etc. doing social media, Hyatt has recently launched it’s own social network, Yattit (see http://www.yattit.com/). It’s about time one of the major chains did something like this. This one is more social than business, too, which makes it much more interesting. Why other large chains, like Hilton and Holiday Inn aren’t doing this, I don’t know. They certainly should.

 

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