KLM is at it again – combines the social graph, things-to-do and maps
Dutch airline KLM continually gets the attention of its peers around the industry, more often than not for simply doing things online that are more than just selling flight tickets.
Social media is generally the driving force behind this, but rather than just thinking of new ways to blast customers with offers (“Actions speak louder than tweets“) the carrier has tried surprising passengers with gifts after watching their activity on Foursquare and all manner of fun competitions on Facebook.
There is also the infamous Meet & Seat tool where passengers can check who might be travelling on a flight beforehand and therefore arrange to meet or sit with them.
KLM’s latest effort is known as Must See Map.
Must See Map is a clever use of maps and lists of things to do in a destination, but throwing in the social graph so travellers can get tips from friends and family on their social networks to populate the map with ideas.
It’s a bit like a “lite” version of the TripAdvisor TripFriends tool launched in 2010.
Once a user selects a destination the system serves up a detailed Google Map, albeit in a folded style to resemble how travellers used to tuck away a city guide when on the road.
Users can then add tips of their own, or use it as a work-in-progress travel guide (before getting a printed version mailed for free).
But where it gets interesting and the social graph comes in to play is with the ability to send out requests to followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook.
Users can post an update to either network asking for tips or recommendations about a destination. Any replies are then automatically placed on the individual’s map and shared back on Facebook or Twitter.
Of course, as always there is the question as to what KLM gets out of it. Through its ongoing efforts with various initiatives such as Must See Map, users must use the carrier’s Facebook page as the entry point.
“Like” the page, get the tool.
Behind the scenes there is probably an interesting debate about whether the resources required to build such tools is worth the effort just to build and service the community on Facebook (and, by extension, chatter within the network).
KLM clearly thinks the effort is worthwhile.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.