KLM Airlines Uses Your Facebook Account to Personalize Gifts for Your Flight

Using data that is freely and publicly available through links to their passengers' FourSquare accounts - such as Facebook profile information, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn pages - KLM is surprising passengers with a completely unique and personalized gift when they fly with the airline.

Traveling can be tough on the nerves, but KLM airlines is hoping its new efforts make it easier for some of its passengers. KLM has taken an interest in FourSquare, and wants to reward some of its FourSquare passengers for checking-in at KLM locations, such as baggage claim areas, ticket booths, departure lounges and more – but not with the standard “10% off your next in-flight meal” type fare. Think personalized gifts, tailored to each individual based on their social graph.

Using data that is freely and publicly available through links to their passengers’ FourSquare accounts – such as Facebook profile information, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn pages – KLM is surprising passengers with a completely unique and personalized gift when they fly with the airline.

KLM used information they found on their passengers’ social networking profiles to tailor this gift to their needs. For instance, they read tweets about where the passenger was to travel next, found out what recent experience he or she had on Facebook, and their business connection on LinkedIn – all to figure out what small gift would be appreciated by that passenger.

Tnooz, a travel tech blog, reports that the surprise gift-giving was caught on camera and each individual passenger’s story recorded. KLM recorded one passenger’s story:

“At the gate we surprised Saskia with a few pounds of Italian flavour. So she can make the best Italian dishes. We also gave her a handfull of coins to test her own luck when she’s at the Trevi Fountain.”

And another:

“We surprised Ewald at the gate before he had to leave for a congres in Caïro. The congres was all about social media and ‘searching for new connections’. We thought it would be an appropiate idea to give him a cinema ticket so he can visit The Social Network movie.”

This promotion is something totally new: we haven’t seen a company engage with their customers at this level of personal interest before. People are being given gifts that correspond with something they posted on their social network. And while it might seem like a bit intrusive upfront, this KLM promotion doesn’t access any information that has not been made freely available online by the user.

Like Tnooz, we think this is a fantastic promotion, but that it could be taken advantage of by consumers. People might start checking-in to KLM locations more – a good thing for the company – but they also might be updating their social network profiles to say “Man, I really wish I had a free around-the-world plane ticket right now…” in the hopes of being “surprised” by one. However, because of the apparent random selection and the fact that KLM is using a variety of social networks for their data, we think they’re onto a stellar campaign that could really catch on.