[Interview] How Finnair and Helsinki Airport brought social media to life through Quality Hunters
Let’s face it. Those of us who travel frequently have seen our own share of bad, good and great ideas when passing through airports and flying on various airlines. More often than not, we share those ideas and insights with our friends and families, both online and offline.
So, what happens when an organization takes it upon themselves to really pull together their social community and tap into those great ideas? Well, in the case of one innovative airline and a dedicated and thought-leading airport, an idea generating, online community was formed and great ideas began to cultivate! Quality Hunters was the brainchild of Finnair and the Helsinki Airport – a partnership aimed at improving air travel.
Connected Social Community
The idea behind Quality Hunters was really quite simple: to encourage travelers to help them to find ways to improve the travel experience. (Read more about the initiative here). The program began with a contest to send seven individuals (The Quality Hunters) off on an adventure to travel the world in search of cool, fresh, and practicable ideas. The ideas came back in droves and were shared by the “hunters” and the Quality Hunters team through a blog and a Twitter account, @qualityhunters. From a book swap, to decreasing the carbon footprint with new meal ideas, to family travel concepts – over 250 ideas were generated through this program.
The first idea to be brought to life was the Helsinki Airport Book Swap. By redecorating an underutilized corner of the Helsinki Airport the team was able to transform the space into a charming Book Swap – complete with books for travelers to share and trade.
Last week, I happened to be traveling home from holiday in Portugal and stopped in Finland for a few days to visit a friend. On my way back through the Helsinki Airport, not only did I get to swap my copy of Cutting with Stone for another long over due read (The Time Traveler’s Wife), but I also caught up with Aku Varamäki, Social Media Manager for Finnair (@akuvaramaki on Twitter) to chat with her about the program and how the idea was cultivated.
For me, even in the age of iPads and Kindles, a good traditional bound book is always in my travel bag and is a must for any beach trip. Rarely do I have room in my bags for more than one, and I am often left in a bind by the end of my trip, either buying a new book, or just relying on articles that have been saved to my iPad. This idea hits home for me and I can not wait to see the other Quality Hunters ideas brought to life.