Layover with a Local: Making the most of long layovers

Published on: February 25, 2016 | Last Updated on October 9, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 5.52.53 PMWith “Layover with a Local,” KLM finds a way to make long layovers less onerous.

Most long-haul travelers dread layovers. They extend the length of an already exhausting trip and leave travelers with “wasted” time on their hands—without much to do except eat, drink, read or hang around a crowded airport.

But what if you had a friend you could meet after arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, one who would make the time pass more quickly by introducing you to something new in their city?

A recent blog post on Adweek describes a new pilot program recently launched by KLM, called “Layover with a Local.” The service will match KLM flyers from the U.S., Canada and Italy with locals in Amsterdam who are willing to show them around their hometown.

The program will be available to flyers, ages 18 and over, with long layovers (6 hours or more) between March 22 and May 31, 2016. In addition, KLM will foot the bill for a free train ride into the city and a first round of drinks with the local.

Matching travelers to locals will work through a mobile Layover with a Local app (soon be available in the Apple app store.) After a traveler registers and creates a user profile, he/she will be matched to a local citizen based on certain criteria (such as language and interests). The traveler has the option of rejecting the first suggestion and searching for another match. Then the two people (traveler and local) can make arrangements to meet in the city (a 15-minute train ride from the airport.)

Michael van den Brande, a strategist from the public relations/creative company, told Adweek:

“The local recruitment campaign is focused on groups that have an intrinsic motivation to meet up with a traveler,” he added. “For example, we’re targeting language students so they can practice their Italian with a native speaker. And we’re tapping into the expat community because we feel like they might enjoy showing their new home to someone from their home country. The app facilitates this matchmaking by linking people with similar languages and interests.”

With the growing popularity of the “sharing economy,” traveler are increasingly choosing to eat with locals, explore cities with them, ride with them and stay in their homes. To promote customer loyalty, KLM is banking on their interest in spending a layover with a local, too.


Watch this short YouTube video that explains this innovative program:

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    March 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Sounds like a great idea! (If one isn’t too zonked from the long flight already…) Nice that KLM will pay for the train ride and first round of drinks :-).

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