KLM is an airline that's always trying to be at the forefront of creativity in customer service, from its Seatmates program that let passengers choose who they sit next to based on people's LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, to building a social media hub that deals with every single Twitter inquiry in a day.
Its latest experiment is an app that seems to blend several ideas -- Seatmates, dating apps, Airbnb etc.-- to match travelers with layovers of six hours or more in Amsterdam Schipol airport with locals who are willing to show them their city. (Icelandair has been trying something similar with its Stopover Buddy scheme -- although that matches you with an Icelandair employee rather than a random local.)
The Layover With a Local app, which wil go live in March, has been developed by Amsterdam agency Achtung (acquired by Mcgarrybowen in a deal announced earlier this month.) Travelers are matched with a local based on languages and interests. After they land in Amsterdam, the app provides them with instructions and a free train ticket to get to the city center, where the local meets them and shows them around. They can visit one of several selected bars for a free drink and will be notified when it's time to get back to the airport.
We get why that's fun for the traveler -- but what's in it for the local? As well as being entered into a prize draw to win free plane tickets to whatever country their layover-mate comes from, KLM says it's a chance for them to improve their languages and meet people from different countries.
Layover With a Local is a pilot scheme that will be available initially to travelers coming from the U.S., Canada and Italy -- those who are interested encouraged to register on the website ahead of the app's launch.