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How Europe’s airlines use WeChat to reach China

KLM, Finnair and Air France are among those maximising their presence among China’s outbound travellers.

The hugely popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has one billion monthly active users. Among other travel trade players, Europe’s airlines are exploring ways of harnessing this potentially lucrative social media power.

KLM, Finnair and Air France are among those maximising their presence among China’s outbound travellers, Roy Graff, managing director EMEA at the travel tech and digital marketing agency Dragon Trail Interactive, tells Routes Online.

WeChat is China’s number-one social media platform and mobile app, which started as a simple messaging platform but now offers an array of functions from social sharing to mobile payments.

International airlines use it for official service accounts, marketing, ticket sales and more.

KLM’s mobile website is fully integrated into its WeChat account, so users can book a flight, search their flight status or check-in online.

Once a flight is booked, travellers get reminders when online check-in opens and can have their boarding pass sent to their WeChat accounts with a code to scan at the airport. KLM also offers customer service through the app’s chat interface.

Music to pair with food
WeChat also has mini-programs – micro-apps like e-commerce platforms and games accessed direct through WeChat – and they now have over 270 million daily active users.

Finnair launched a mini-program in April 2018 where users can upload a photo of food and the mini-program identifies what kind of food it is and plays music to ‘pair’ with the food. It also links to an article on the airline’s Chinese inflight dining options.

Finnair claims that the mini-program had more than 100,000 views – the only international airline other than AirAsia to reach this number, according to Dragon Trail.

In an effort to raise brand awareness and interaction with Chinese consumers, Air France launched a competition for Chinese New Year this year with a lucky draw landing page on WeChat.

It integrated a French flavour into the design, inspiring audiences with the airline’s destinations and flight offers from China. To enter, participants needed to follow the Air France WeChat account and share the campaign with a friend, managing to get thousands of views.

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