KLM Surprise is still probably the best example yet of how a travel brand can use the social graph to discover and engage with customers in an unusual and valuable way.
The airline launched the project in late-2010 and it has been showcased and debated at travel conferences around the world ever since.
The idea was simple: find out more about passengers by looking at their open social media profiles (FourSquare, Twitter, Facebook, etc), then surprise them at the airport with a gift related to their interests or where they are going.
A wonderfully quirky idea which not only gave some passengers that warm feeling that their airline cared for them a bit, but also illustrated to the rest of the industry what could be possible if a little imagination was used.
Two years on and Accor (the brand also behind Sofitel and Novotel) has started A Club Surprise, a project to, well, discover more about hotel guests and their interests by scouring through their social media profiles.
And then, surprise-surprise, door-stepping them in the hotel with a related and very generous gift.
Here are some examples:
The idea is still quirky and cute enough for Accor to get away with a "unique" carbon copy, although one difference is that Accor is only surprising members of its elite A Club loyalty scheme.
But when asked about whether Accor had heard of the Dutch carrier's effort, an official (who is also plugging the idea on Twitter) says they were completely unaware of it.