- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the flag carrier of the Netherlands that's part of Air France-KLM group, added Dutch language ability to its voice-enabled app for Google Assistant. After helping to find flight information with voice commands, KLM's Blue Bot (BB) sends customers a link to KLM.com to book their flight, according to a statement.
- KLM introduced the artifiical intelligence (AI) powered BB last year with English-speaking abilities on Facebook Messenger and Google Assistant. The airline plans to add more services on the platform and other social media channels in the next few months.
- The Dutch version of its Google Assistant app will be rolled out in phases by Google in the coming months. The Dutch version is currently only available on smartphones and tablets, and will eventually be added to more devices like the Google Home smart speaker.
KLM's Dutch-language version of its chatbot highlights how multinational companies are localizing voice-enabled services, reminiscent of the way they had to develop multilingual websites more than 20 years ago as the internet was commercialized. KLM started the chat service in English, the dominant language of international business and diplomacy, and now can interact with customers in the carrier's local language. Language localization is especially important as countries like China see greater outbound tourism among its growing middle class of consumers who have money to spend overseas. At the same time, it adds an element of personalization for users to select their preferred language.
Part of the fourth largest airline in Europe, KLM has adopted budding technologies to reach the next generation of consumers who are using mobile devices and mixed-reality platforms. KLM was one of the first brands to participate in Facebook's closed beta test of the Customer Chat Plugin that lets users talk with businesses on their own websites and in Messenger without losing the conversation's history and context. The carrier last year rolled out a mobile app that gave smartphone users a virtual reality (VR) view of flying on one its planes. The "Flight Upgrader" app let travelers use Google Cardboard or a VR headset to see what it's like to travel on the airline.
Digital assistants like the ones by Google and Amazon have grown in popularity alongside rising sales of smart speakers and chatbots. Other travel companies that have begun to embrace mobile or voice tech include United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.