Expedia Plans To Use VR To Let Customers Tour Hotel Rooms Before Booking

What Happened
Popular travel booking site Expedia is testing a new VR initiative to allow customers to take a tour of the hotel rooms they are interested in before booking. Designed to be an interactive experience, users will be able to slide open a room door or step out onto the balcony to get a full 360-degree view of their prospective accommodations.

Details are scarce on when and how Expedia is planning to roll out this VR feature, but the company has long history of experimenting with virtual reality in its marketing efforts, including a campaign last year that uses a room-scale VR installation to transport sick kids to exotic locales and one launched this January that takes viewers on a mesmerizing VR train ride through rural Norway.

What Brands Need To Do
This is the latest example of the diversification of VR content as virtual reality gadgets start to percolate into the consumer market. VR’s immersive power makes it a powerful tool for travel and hospitality brands to sell prospective customers on the experience they offer. Hotel chains such as Marriott and St. Giles have been experimenting with VR and 360-degree content to attract consumer attention As mainstream adoption picks up, immersive content is emerging as a medium that brand marketers can capitalize on.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Mashable

Expedia’s Latest VR Content Taps Into The “Slow TV” Trend

What Happened
Expedia’s latest VR effort is a 44-minute-long VR experience that will take you on a scenic railroad trip in Norway. The popular travel booking site’s Norwegian branch partnered with local tourism organizations Visit Flåm, Flåm Railway, as well as London-based agency Verve Search to launch its first VR content, which includes gorgeous sights such as fjords, glaciers, the midnight sun, the northern lights, and national parks. The video can be accessible on major-brand VR headsets, and it can also be viewed online via a supported browser.

The calming, slow nature of this railroad VR experience sets itself apart from most branded VR content in market today, which usually tend to be much shorter, faster-paced, and more adrenaline-driven. This coincides with the so-called “Slow TV” development, where broadcasts of mundane events filmed from start to finish, such as a long train ride or a knitting marathon, has captivated millions of European viewers. It’s become such a phenomenon in Europe that Netflix imported 11 Slow TV programs this summer.

What Brands Need To Do
This is the latest example of the diversification of VR content as virtual reality gadgets start to percolate into the consumer market. VR’s immersive power makes it a powerful tool for travel and hospitality brands to sell prospective customers on the experience they offer. As mainstream adoption picks up, VR and 360-degree content is emerging as a medium that brand marketers can capitalize on to attract consumer attention with innovative storytelling.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: AdWeek

 

Expedia Launches Alexa Skill To Offer Travel Updates

What Happened
Travel site Expedia has launched an Alexa skill that let Amazon Echo users ask for updates on flights, hotel bookings, and rental car reservations without lifting a finger. Expedia customers can use it to check their loyalty points balance. At launch, the skill does not support booking flights or hotels via Alexa directly, but Expedia says it is working to add the feature soon.

This is not the first time Expedia has seeked to connect with travellers via conversational interfaces. In June, the popular travel booking site launched a Facebook Messenger bot, which allows users to search for hotels via chats and can direct them to the Expedia site to complete booking once an option is selected. At the moment, Expedia and its competitor Kayak remain some of the few skills in the Alexa Skills Marketplace that can track flight information and plan a trip.

What Brands Should Do
This serves as the latest example of how voice-based assistant services may transform customer experiences in hospitality. As Amazon continues to improve Alexa’s functionality and expand the underlying deep learning technologies to more services, it is time for brands seeking to stay ahead of the digital curve to start exploring how incorporating conversational interfaces may help improve the customer experience.

The Lab has extensive experience with building Alexa skills for brands. If you’re interested in learning more about this or have a client opportunity, please reach out to our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Hawaii Tourism Taps Facial Recognition For Personalized Travel Recommendations

What Happened
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) launched an online campaign that leverages facial recognition technology to gauge prospective travelers’ interests and offer personalized recommendations. Working with travel booking site Expedia, the HTA created a “Discover Your Aloha” microsite with video content showcasing the natural beauty and vacation activities that Hawaii has to offer. With users’ permissions, the custom-built facial recognition software tracks viewers’ reactions as the videos play, pinpointing the sights and activities toward which they respond positively. The algorithm identifies the personal preferences of each viewer and presents them with a personalized, discounted Hawaii vacation package that they can book directly via Expedia.

What Brands Should Do
This interesting campaign showcases how brands can leverage facial recognition technology to gather real-time feedback and provide customized offers accordingly in their digital campaigns. Increasingly we are seeing brand marketers incorporate the use of camera input in their campaigns. Whether it’s the kind of social media campaigns that reward selfies with special offers or an OOH campaign that uses camera input as the source for behavioral targeting, more brands should start thinking about how they can leverage the ubiquitousness of cameras to learn more about their audience.

 


Source: Expedia Blog

Expedia “Transports” Sick Kids To Exotic Locales With Live 360-Degree Installation

What Happened
As part of its St. Jude Dream Adventures campaign, travel booking site Expedia worked with its agency 180LA to create a live 360-degree video installation for children battling cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The installation filled the walls of a room with projections of 360-degree live views of exotic locales such as a national park in Argentina, the Monkey Jungle in Florida, and the Great Maya Reef in Mexico. Some Expedia employees were on location as virtual tour guides to show the kids the sites. You can watch the wonderful experiences those kids had on the campaign’s YouTube playlist.

What Brands Need To Do
Expedia is commendable for utilizing 360-degree live videos in this well-executed campaign for a heartwarming cause. Beyond this use case, such interactive installations also allow brands to engage consumers with an immersive experience that doesn’t require a bulky VR headset. For example, travel and hospitality brands could virtually transport customers to exciting locations to inspire travel and vacation destinations, whereas auto brands may use this technology to devise simulated test drives on advantageous and scenic routes.

 


Source: AdAge

Header image courtesy of Expedia’s YouTube Video

Expedia Creates Travel Albums With Facebook And Instagram Images

Expedia has figured out a clever way to engage their community around the photos they take when travelling the globe. As part of the “Find Yours” campaign, Expedia has developed a Facebook app that leverages Facebook and Instagram images in addition to Google Maps, music and other filters to tell the story of their travels. These travel albums are easily shareable via Twitter and Facebook and engage people around the moments they create.