Why social media could help bring back the romance of air travel
Air New Zeland's Rico
Imagine posting a message on your Facebook page saying ‘bored – want a holiday’ and next thing you know an airline has tweeted you with a great special deal to your favourite city and also told you that your long-lost friend will be in town at the same time. Checking in – you are allocated seats next to someone who has same interests and likes and the IFE system even suggests movies and TV shows you had forgotten you loved.
Far fetched – not really. This concept, enabled by social media, aims to bring Amazon-like personalisation to the air travel experience – bringing back the romance of flying. The concept from Sergio Mello, ceo of Satisfly, allows airlines and passengers to tap into rich publicly available social media networks. For the passenger, this, in the initial stages, would allow them to be allocated a seat next to someone with similar views or tastes (or even to someone who wanted no talk at all!). Meanwhile, for the airlines, this would allow them to build up highly personalised passenger profiles – allowing social media to evolve from communication tools, to actually help drive business profits.
Like ‘Amazon’ which learns over time which books, films and games you like, so would airlines be able to better serve their passengers by drawing on the vast online networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that people now connect to. Sergio reports that after being almost ‘laughed out’ of conferences only three years ago – airlines are now sitting up taking close interest. He is already in negotiations with several airlines to implement this and become a launch customer.