Being social refers to people’s tendency to want to belong to or form goups. It is a basic human trait. (Peelen, E. & Beltman, R., 2013). The main challenge in the airline industry is to find innovative activities that can engage passengers at a whole new level.
Nowadays, most travellers use various devices as form of communication. Therefore, the future of the airline companies is to know how to use social media that builds long-term customer relationship. In order to do that, some essential aspects of social media have to be taken into consideration. The ideal theoretical framework that can describe these conditions is called the honeycomb of social media. The model is consisted of elements such as sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, groups, conversation and identity.
(Peelen, E., 2013)
Furthermore, the theoretical knowledge has to be put correctly in practice. Hence, different cases will be represented which can clearly match with the theory applied. The first given example is the one of KLM airlines. The organization has introduced an idea known as ‘meet and seat’ (mycustomer, 2012). It allows passengers on its long-haul flights to connect with fellow travellers via Facebook and LinkedIn. By registering their social media profiles prior to the flight, passengers can network in-flight by choosing to sit next to someone with similar interests or arrange a meet-up prior to take off.
Air New Zealand, following in the footsteps of Dell and holiday park operator Parks Resort, launched a ‘share and earn’ scheme where customers can earn up to £50 for every recommendation they post on Facebook, Twitter, email or blog that is turned into a premium economy booking on its 777-300 Premium Economy Spaceseat.
It can be concluded that both airlines have used suitable customer engagement strategies that have allowed passengers to be active on flight. As a result, the parts of the social media honeycomb are activated. When airlines give the right incentives or opportunities to meet new people, activities like sharing, conversation and relationships are initially started. If the customers are really keen to the content given, then people start building new groups, create new identities and at the same time increase the reputation of the airline companies. The perfect stage for the airlines companies is when all components of the model are applied simultaneously. However, in order to achieve that level, customers have to be completely loyal to the brand and reach the stage of advocacy, when people have positive recommendations about the company.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. United Kingdom: Pearon Education Limited.
mycustomer. (2012). Are airlines flying high with social engagement schemes? Retrieved from: http://www.mycustomer.com/experience/engagement/are-airlines-flying-high-with-social-engagement-schemes