How Social Data is Helping Personalize Travel

We’ve all been there. After trekking to the airport, enduring endless security and other lines, and long waits for your flight to be called—you finally board the plane. Sweet heaven! Now you can relax, and even catch a few winks. Except you can’t. Because the person sitting beside you is a boor. Or worse.

Now, imagine if you could—while booking flights and reserving your seats—fine-tune your seat-mate? Literally pick and choose someone who would be better suited to your style of travel? It turns out you can.

Customer Identity and Access Management and How It Improves Service

The goal when implementing customer identity and access management (CIAM) technology is to not only improve processes, but to better know your customer base. In the case of travel companies, making sure you provide the best service possible extends far beyond initial site access and booking. We’re using air travel as our example, since we all know just how stressful it can be, especially when you add missed connections, weather delays, or even young children into the mix.

The better you can know your customer, the more digital value you can provide, and the more successful you will be at driving increased registrations, engagement, word-of-mouth advertising, and of course, loyalty. Implementing social login is one way to do just that.

By allowing the use of the same social credentials across e-kiosks, mobile apps, and loyalty programs, travel companies end up with a much deeper understanding of their customers’travel-related likes and dislikes, as well as a plethora of other valuable information. This allows you to build relationships with your customers that help you provide top-notch customer service pre-, during, and even post-travel.

Which brings us to KLM Airlines.

KLM Changes the In-Flight Seating Game

Caveat: KLM uses Gigya’s Social Login as part of their CIAM strategy, but that’s not really the point. The point here is how they used that social data and our systems to change the game when it comes to in-flight seating, overall customer satisfaction, and differentiating themselves from the many other airlines flying today.

Using KLM’s Meet & Seat app, participating KLM flyers can share their social profile with other participating passengers, as well as view their details and seating assignments. Meet & Seat users can then choose seats next to one another based on shared demographics and interests, creating a highly personal flying experience. And one of the biggest advantages for customers who used Meet & Seat? Increased networking opportunities and business opportunities.

While the Meet and Seat app launched in 2012, it’s been such a success it inspired the company to try something new, “Layover With a Local.” A short term initiative, it essentially allowed travelers flying from the U.S., Canada, or Italy, with layovers of six hours or more at Schiphol airport, to schedule Amsterdam meet-ups with a local, a fun way to get the most out of a long wait between flights. As Michael van den Brande, strategist at the Dutch agency behind the promotion said recently in AdWeek, the goal here is to help KLM “strengthen the relationship with their high value, long-haul passengers…The local recruitment campaign is focused on groups that have an intrinsic motivation to meet up with a traveler,” he says. “For example, we’re targeting language students so they can practice their Italian with a native speaker. And we’re tapping into the expat community because we feel like they might enjoy showing their new home to someone from their home country. The app facilitates this matchmaking by linking people with similar languages and interests.

”Of course, KLM isn’t alone in starting these socially-oriented programs. And while the “Layover With a Local” promotion has since ended, it’s a clear illustration of just how innovative a company can be with the right customer identity access management strategy in place, one that puts social login data at their fingertips. Want to learn more? Keep reading here!

By David Kerin