KLM starts social media loyalty scheme
Staff track passengers social website activity and reward them at airport – but some passengers have been less pleased than others
Dutch airline KLM has launched a social media-based loyalty campaign for passengers that check into the airport and KLM lounges at Schiphol Airport.
The ‘Surprise’ campaign uses the Foursquare location-based social networking tool to engender loyalty among passengers by presenting them in person with specially targeted rewards. Passengers check in using their cellphone, tablet or PC, and KML staff monitor their activity on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter and then may surprise them at the airport with an appropriate reward.
The scheme uses Foursquare as a way to personally reward its passengers for flying on the airline, and aims to provide a more ‘emotional’ reward than the usual miles offers.
On its Facebook page KLM says a New York-bound passenger called Willem was rewarded with a Lonely Planet guidebook for New York City, which contained a handwritten personal note to him.
Tracking his social network activity, KLM found out that Willem is a big soccer fan and markedthe best soccer bars in the city on the maps in the New York guide.
“Surprise’ will last until the end of this month unless the airline decides to extend it.
The potential pitfalls of company’s social media activity have been highlighted in some negative feedback to the initiative.
The airline has put a scrolling feed of a Twitter hashtag on its main website which was meant to showcase the Surprise promotion championing its “little acts of kindness to suprise our passengers.”
This did not go down well with all its customers. Several used the hashtag #klmsuprise to respond with some highly critical tweets that ran live on the company’s website.
The airline removed the critical posts from the site shortly after they were discovered and Twitter seems to have removed the feed as well.
This poses the questions of whether KLM would have been better off responding to the criticism via Twitter, and if it might have caused more harm than good by removing the offensive Tweets.