From social media business to social business; introducing KLM’s Meet & Seat initiative


The Dutch aviation giant KLM is well known for their interaction with customers on social media platforms. With swift and often humorous responses they – quite literally- manage to help customers along their journey. However, next to being activing on social media, KLM has been increasingly eager to change into a social business as a whole. The Meet & Seat initiative was the first step in doing so, allowing for collaboration and co-creation with its customers.

KLM’s Meet & Seat allows passengers to choose who they will be sitting next to. Passengers can view other passenger’s Facebook and/or LinkedIn profile details before departure. Meet & Seat can aid in finding interesting people who will be on the same KLM flight. This can be people who work in the same business as you, or people that go to the same event as you at your destination. Although not everything can be extracted from a Facebook or LinkedIn profile, it does empower passengers and gives them the opportunity to make their trip more enjoyable.

Meet & Seat is integrated in the standard booking process. To date, it is only available for those who travel alone, as it would be too complicated to move entire families and account for different interests. Using Meet & Seat involves three steps:

1. First, you will be given the option to link your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. You can select yourself what information you want to make public. In addition, you will be asked what languages you speak to ensure you can indeed communicate with your desired fellow passenger.

2. Next, you will be presented the occupancy map of the plane; here you can see which passengers have linked their social media profile to their booking. You can here check who they are with what purpose they are travelling.

3. You choose your seat. If you happen to find an interesting person it is optional to already establish contact via Facebook or LinkedIn.

klm

Initially, the Meet & Seat initiative raised some eyebrows with regard to privacy concerns. In the current era in which personal information is more valuable than ever, people questioned the motives of KLM for introducing Meet & Seat. To tackle this, KLM has stated on their website that profile details will not be used for other purposes than Meet & Great. In addition, KLM’s default option is that an individual does not take part in the Meet & Seat experience.

What do you think of KLM”s Meet & Seat? Would you be eager to try it, or would your perhaps use it to Seek & Avoid rather than to Meet & Seat? Or, alternatively, could this turn into a new dating platform? I am particularly interested if KLM upholds its promise not to use personal information for purposes other than Meet & Great. Lastly, it is interesting how KLM’s Meet & Seat initiative stacks up against other applications such as WorldMate. WorldMate is an existing mobile application that offers a Meet & Greet-like function together with itinerary assistance as well as hotel recommendations.

Borgman, H. (2013). Is this seat taken? Retrieved from https://2f2230d38a8e616d5a4c-4d06f61946ea322463c1f7bf12b26a1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/file_versions/29800/original/5fbc63f2dcf667a8155a29a3ab32dc3892332fcdce00b2fe69b988f2051d656f.pdf

https://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/your_seat_on_board/meet_and_seat.htm

https://www.worldmate.com/

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