Travel Networking

Road warrior syndrome got you feeling like you live in a bizarro world filled with too much work, too much expense account dining and too little normal human interaction?  Want to find others with whom you can share your life away from home?  These six social technologies are making it easier for you to re-connect with humanity while away from home:

1.KLM Meet & Seat

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Fancy using your time in the air getting to know your fellow travelers?  KLM’s Meet & Seat feature allows passengers to voluntarily share their Facebook or LinkedIn profile and as well as other optional details such as languages spoken prior to traveling.  As travelers opt-in, they may view use the KLM website to view the profiles of other travelers who have done the same, as well as knowing their seat numbers.  These passengers may then reach out to their fellow passengers and see what kind of sky-high magic occurs.

2.Virgin America Seat-to-Seat Delivery + chat

Virgin Seat-to-Seat

Arguably America’s tech savviest airline, Virgin America, is pioneering the concept of in-flight social networking.  Not only can passengers communicate and instant message each other while at their seats, they may even choose to “buy a drink” for a fellow passenger.  Call it Tinder 2.0 at 35,000 feet… Wonder if there’s a swipe left for those not wanting that free drink?!

3.Grand City Hotels (Germany) MeetMeIn app

Over 100 hotels, primarily in Germany, operated by the Grand City Hotels hotel management company, including among others the Berlin Mark Hotel and the Park Hotel Amsterdam, offer guests the chance to connect with one another using the MeetMeIn app.  This app provides a variety of useful information about events and attractions and allows hotel guests to find other guests with whom they may want to connect and share experiences.  Guests may select their “mood” to help filter events and people with whom they would want (or perhaps not want) to connect.

4.Residence Inn Mix

MIX

Residence Inn by Marriott, a chain geared toward longer-stay travelers, offers to help guests “Break the Ice” through weeknight socials that the chain sponsors.  Events vary by night of the week, but typically run the gamut from communal watching of TV around the fireplace (a hostel-like social experience geared toward a professional crowd) to sampling of local bites from both nearby restaurants as well as food trucks.  Drinks are also included.  These events can be found at most Residence Inn locations worldwide.

5.Marriott Six Degrees

Marriott Hotels has partnered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to re-think the hotel lobby experience by leveraging customer information to facilitate connections.  Currently being tested at the Boston Marriott-Cambridge (Mass.), the Marriott Six Degrees platform finds mutual professional and personal interests among its guests through LinkedIn.  The platform has three key features: a mobile app that matches guests with shared interests and backgrounds; an interactive “six degrees” table that facilitates face-to-face interaction and a public display in the hotel library, which announces events that are tailored to specific guests who have opted-in to be part of the Six Degrees community.

6.InterNations

InterNations is an online platform that facilitates get-togethers in major cities across the globe, principally focused on expats.  However, visitors are very welcome to join events as well and may be particularly appealing for those who travel repeatedly to the same destination.  Most events involve booze, a few bites and perhaps some entertainment, depending on the theme.  Gatherings tend to be made up of those who are both new in town and looking to grow their network of internationally-minded professionals.  With a particularly strong presence in Europe (the company is based in Munich), many cities also offer the advantage of special interest subgroups, such as entrepreneurs, singles, travel and arts and culture groups.