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Mobile Sky: How KLM Convinced Clients to Book Flights on its Mobile App

Marketing Strategy

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Take a moment to think which device you use the most to check out your Facebook feed; order a food delivery; check your bank account; read news updates; or watch funny videos on YouTube. I’m going to guess it’s your mobile phone. And how many of you have surfed the Web both on your mobile phone and your computer at the same time? Embarrassingly enough, many of us do that (myself included).

The mobile phone has been man’s best friend for several years now. Besides making phone calls, we use it to get important tasks, perform a multitude of daily actions and even to alleviate boredom. If anyone has had any doubts about the way mobile has taken over our lives, this graph (taken from a study released by comScore in August 2014) illustrates how mobile usage has already surpassed desktop usage and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.

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Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many large companies are making changes to their websites and services in order to make them more suitable for use on mobile phones, what is otherwise known as mobile optimization. When you know that most of your clients are on their mobile for most of their waking hours, the smart thing to do is to suit your marketing strategies to their behavior.

While some companies are still struggling with this concept, others are doing it very effectively. One example is Dutch airline KLM. In 2013 KLM wanted to encourage its clients to book flights on their mobile devices, either on the airline’s mobile app or its mobile website. To do so, the airline had to convince them that booking flights on mobile is quick, simple and reliable.

In addition, it needed to employ advanced mobile marketing tactics, such as location-based push notifications, using iPhone’s Passbook and the Google Wallet, and retargeting of users. During the campaign, KLM used several marketing channels, including social media and paid advertising.

Creating the Campaign

For three weeks in the summer of 2013, KLM offered its clients in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK a unique benefit: everyone who booked KLM flights on mobile got free access to its lounge. The airline emphasized that lounge access will be given only to people who book flights on their mobile devices, whether they do so on KLM’s mobile website or on its app.

In its banners, KLM mentioned the number of tickets booked already (see first ad) and the number of free access vouchers left (see second ad). The first ad also included a QR code which invited the user to go to  KLM’s site, as well as video explaining how to book flights on KLM mobile:

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The people who booked flights on the mobile website or the app got their vouchers in the form of coupons, which were automatically saved in their digital wallets: iPhone users’ Passbook and Android users’ Google Wallet. Later on, the apps sent notifications to users when they were near the lounge, reminding them to take advantage of their free access.

KLM introduced the integration of digital wallets in its mobile app shortly before the campaign began:

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Besides its mobile website and app, KLM ran its campaign on various marketing channels: video, social media, a responsive landing page which included a ticker counting down the number of vouchers left, mobile banners and newsletters. The campaign targeted mobile users only.

This video, released by KLM released as part of the campaign, gives step-by-step instructions for booking flights on mobile:

The Campaign’s Results

The following infographic, taken from a website presenting a case study of KLM’s mobile campign, shows the traffic to the website and app from each marketing channel (SEA stands for “Search Engine Advertising”). Most of the traffic came from mobile banners and social media:

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The campaign resulted in a 17% increase in visits to KLM’s mobile website, which led to a 34% increase in bookings and a 38% increase in mobile revenue. Not bad for a three-week campaign!

Why did it Succeed?

There were several factors which contributed to the success of this campaign:

  • KLM recognized the movement towards major mobile usage in real time, and understood that’s where most of its potential clients are.
  • Its campaign targeted mobile users only, and offered the free lounge benefit only to them.
  • The campaign ran on various marketing channels in order to reach a large number of potential clients.
  • The campaign also utilized tools unique to mobile devices, such as location-based push notifications, the Passbook/Google Wallet and a designated mobile app. This helped KLM to show its clients it’s a modern airline that doesn’t hesitate to use advanced technologies for its clients’ benefit.

Conclusion

So what’s the take-home message from KLM’s mobile campaign? Businesses looking to succeed today should focus their marketing efforts not only on the Web, but specifically on mobile; and when they do that, it’s best if they also incorporate mobile technologies to make their clients’ lives easier and to get a competitive edge over similar businesses marketing themselves on mobile.

Do you know any other examples of great mobile campaigns? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Dafna Ben-Yehoshua, Content Manager at 3 Door Digital. After completing my M. Sc. in Biology, and trying out various occupations from being a zoo guide to working as an English teacher, I decided to settle on writing. I believe that any subject can be written about in a creative, fascinating manner while bringing into it the writer's unique point of view. My greatest joy in writing is seeing how something I write exposes the readers to new ideas and perspectives.

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