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13/05/2008 – Can You Use Your Airlines To Network & Grow Your Business? Yes!
Most flyers, casual or business flyers, see the airlines as a way to get from Point A to Point B. In fact the main purpose of an airline is simply to transport you from point to point, this is of course why we fly. As flyers we line up, take our laptops out, walk to our gate, sit in our seat and zone out from anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 hours, to get to our destination.
An interesting service by a limited number of airlines is often overlooked; this is a service of networking flyers with other flyers. In an age of being nickeled and dimed at every turn many frequent flyers are anxious to take advantage of any service offered by their airline, and this one can make you money.
I know of six networking schemes for frequent flyers that seem to be widely used a variety of the airlines customers. These range from direct networking, to social groups, to business options, but they all lead to networking opportunities for those who use them.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) offers a detailed business networking community for it’s flyers that live in Africa and do business in Africa. KLM’s Club Africa can benefit any businessperson involved in the business and economy on the African Continent. You do not need to fly KLM to access KLM Club Africa, but you do need to sign up for a free KLM Flying Blue account (which you can do on the KLM Club Africa site). For more info on this program visit www.klmclubafrica.com
KLM’s Club China, much like Club Africa, allows it’s members and grow their business networks through this unique online networking scheme. A service of KLM’s Club China is off-line networking meetings to allow members to get to know each other face to face, and hear featured speaking discussing a variety of topics as they relate to doing business in China. You do need a KLM Flying Blue account to join, which is free and take less than 3 minutes to create. If you do business in China visit www.klmclubchina.com
American Airlines (AA) offers two programs unique to their airline. The first business and social networking gaining popularity with American Airlines is their “Women Travelers Connected” website. AA’s ‘women’ web site is dedicated to creating a networking community for women in both business and social environments. You can visit AA’s Women Travelers Connected site at www.aa.com/women
AA’s second networking community is the ‘Rainbow Community,’ which is the only airline site dedicated to serving the gay & lesbian (LGBT) community. While this site is not intended for direct person-to-person networking like other networks, it offers an excellent source of information for LGBT travel, and has created a dedicated community with FaceBook. AA also offers its ‘Rainbow Network’ newsletter and through the ‘Rainbow Network’ AA supports excellent organizations such as the Matthew Shepard Foundation. You can check out AA’s ‘Rainbow Network’ at www.aa.com/rainbow
Air France (AF) has a unique social networking set up through its frequent flyer program, Flying Blue (same as KLM’s Flying Blue) for golfers. Golf has long since been a game for business deals to be discussed and ironed out while walking the course. Flying Blue Golf is a unique blend of social and business networking. Flying Blue Golf allows it’s members to discuss travel and golf experiences with others around the world. This site offers discounts and other user benefits, aside from the networking ability. If you golf and fly visit Flying Blue Golf at www.flyingbluegolf.com
For business travelers who set up meetings and events around the world Air France (AF) makes bringing your participants together easier with ‘Air France Global Meetings.’ AF’s Global Meetings has a dedicated site to both set up meetings and to give your participants an event ID that lets them log in and access special discounted fares to travel to and from these events. While this is not really a face-to-face networking system, it is an easy way to bring all your attendees together in one place through a site facilitated by a major global airline with multiple global partners. You can find out if AF’s Global Meetings will work for you at: www.AirFranceGlobalMeetings.notlong.com
If you know of another airline business networking program let me know by dropping me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org