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How Airlines are Building Real-World Relationships with their Fans (and Why it's Critical)


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Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying, recently delivered a webinar on How Airlines are Building Real-World Relationships with their Fans (and Why it's Critical).

If you work in an airline or airport organisation and wish to download the slides, please email

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How Airlines are Building Real-World Relationships with their Fans (and Why it's Critical)

  1. 1. How airlines are building real-world relationshipswith their social media fans (and why its critical) Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably
  2. 2. Beyond FansIs bigger always better? Is it better to have a huge following that’s therefor the free stuff or a small army of evangelists ready to support yourbrand and spread its word when needed?
  3. 3. Big numbers are easy and impressiveGetting fans on Facebook is easy, just give them something, and they’llcome. American Airlines famously grew its fans 84 fold in 54 hours withits mystery miles initiative.
  4. 4. Social "we“bReal world connection enhances the average travelerexperience (not just that ofFacebook fans)
  5. 5. #QantasluxuryThe spectacular backfire of #Qantasluxury is perhaps one of the bestexamples of an airline that focused only on the social media side of theinteraction, missing what was going on in the real world.
  6. 6. Southwest Airlines Vs Kevin SmithAt the opposite end of the spectrum when an when an overweightKevin Smith was bumped off a flight fans jumped to defend Southwestand the airline responded appropriately with both its social media andreal world channels.
  7. 7. KLM Surprises
  8. 8. Personalized surprisesIn November 2010 KLM assembled a small team of employees and taskthem with finding passengers who checked in on KLM’s Foursquarelocations at Schiphol Airport, learn more about them by looking up theirprofiles, and choose a personalized gift.
  9. 9. Real life social mediaThis campaign was built around the idea of surprising passengers whilethey waited at the airport and creating a positive brand association. Itwas one of the first airline campaigns to merge social media interactionswith a real-world initiative.
  10. 10. A great success storyThe campaign was so successful that it generated over 1.000.000impressions on Twitter alone, as well as countless articles, blog postsand conversations. The campaign was repeated in the summer of 2011.
  11. 11. Jet Airways: Up, Close and Social
  12. 12. Up, Close & SocialAn interesting example of how airlines can get users engaged in adifferent way is Jet Airways who invited the winners of the “My MostEnriching Experience with Jet Airways” contest to take part in a uniquehalf-day event.
  13. 13. In-depthAs part of the event users were invited to visit Jet Airways’ maintenancefacilities and take part into a series of events designed to deepen therelationship between them and the airline.
  14. 14. Vueling Air Gallery and KLM Tile & Inspire
  15. 15. 4000 faces on a planeAnother interesting way in which KLM got its social media followersinvolved was by giving them the opportunity of having their picturepainted on the fuselage of one of their aircrafts.
  16. 16. Dutch tilesThe campaign was centered around the use of a typical Dutchdecoration, delft blue tiles. Users where invited to turn their profilepictures into tiles using a dedicated website, and add an inspiringmessage.
  17. 17. Vueling AirGalleryIn a similar initiative Spanish low cost airline Vueling decided tocelebrate the 50 million passenger mark by asking its users to submitInstagram images of Vueling destinations in a dedicated Facebook taband inviting their friends to vote for them.
  18. 18. ThanksThe airline aimed tocreate a flying art gallerywhile also using theimages to inspire users toshare and travel. Thecampaign received over6000 entries and used thewinning ones to write ahuge “thanks” on one ofits planes.
  19. 19. Finnair and Helsinki Airports Quality - Hunters and BalticMiles Brainstorm
  20. 20. CrowdsourcingCrowdsourcing as well as an effective tool to get new ideas is also anexcellent way to encourage users to get involved with the brand and gobeyond just “linking” a page. Finnair and Helsinki airport leveraged oncollaboration by selecting a team of “quality hunters” ready to travel theglobe in search of the best travel experiences
  21. 21. Book swapOne of the ideas that came out from this experiment (that is now in it’ssecond season) has been the creation of a book swap at Helsinki airport.
  22. 22. BalticMilesBrainstormAnother company that decided to use crowdsourcing to get customersengaged is loyalty company Baltic Miles that created a dedicatedFacebook tab where users can suggest how to earn and spend miles byasking them to create a new loyalty tier.
  23. 23. What’s next?
  24. 24. The way forward “The key success metric in all these social-media ledinitiatives is the real-world impact, and not just the number of fans. And this is the way forward.”
  25. 25. For more Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably