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Navigating the Future: The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Travel Advertising

At Watauga Group, we know that in the fast-paced world of travel advertising, staying ahead means embracing emerging technologies that redefine the way brands connect with their audience. Our team helps our DMO clients stay on the cutting edge of marketing tech by collaborating with the trailblazers that are shaping the future of advertising. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are at the forefront of this revolution, introducing innovative possibilities for travel advertisers. Let’s take a look at how these technologies are transforming the industry.

AI and Personalized Customer Interaction

Chatbots: A 24/7 Travel Assistant

Artificial Intelligence has given rise to intelligent chatbots that act as virtual travel assistants. These chatbots, powered by natural language processing algorithms, can engage with users in real-time, answering questions, providing travel recommendations, and even assisting with bookings. Airlines and travel agencies are adopting chatbots to enhance customer service, offering a seamless and personalized experience for each user.

Example: Expedia and Chat GPT

Expedia has integrated conversational trip planning with Chat GPT into their iOS Mobile App. They have also built a plugin for ChatGPT so a traveler can start a conversation on the ChatGPT site and select the Expedia plugin to book their suggested itinerary.

Expedia has integrated Chat GPT into it’s Expedia iOS app

Predictive Analytics for Targeted Advertising

Understanding Traveler Behavior through Data

Machine Learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to understand traveler behavior, preferences, and patterns. This helps advertisers create highly targeted and personalized advertising campaigns. Predictive analytics, a subset of ML, helps to tailor ads to individual preferences that helps to increase engagement.

Example: Visit Panama City Beach’s Sport Complex Targeting

Location data is a predictive analytics technique that destinations can use in a variety of ways to target travelers. Watauga Group works with Visit Panama City Beach using location data gathered by Foursquare through device IDs to know when someone has visited Publix Sports Park, a 160-acre premium sports complex for players participating in training, events, and tournaments. Visitors to Publix Sports Park are shown ads in real time that are relevant during their current visit. Additionally, location-based lookback audiences are used to identify users who have visited the sports park and to predict who may want to come back to PCB for a vacation. Those audiences are then targeted with ads inviting them back for a vacation to the Real. Fun. Beach.

Visit Panama City Beach uses location data to engage with visitors to Publix Sports Park

Augmented Reality (AR) Enhancing User Experience

Interactive Advertising with AR

While AR is often associated with immersive experiences, it also plays a role in travel advertising. AR allows DMOs to offer interactive experiences so visitors can virtually explore destinations or visualize hotel rooms. This technology provides a preview of the travel experience, influences decision-making, and highlights specific features of your destination in fun and innovative ways.

Example: TripAdvisor and San Diego Tourism Authority AR Art partnership

In April 2023, Tripadvisor, with the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) and The Shipyard launched a first-of-its-kind immersive art and augmented reality experience “The Sunny Side of Things” in the three largest U.S. cities: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Painted murals created by San Diego artists featured QR codes linking travelers to a complementary augmented reality filter celebrating San Diego’s optimism and positivity, inviting these explorers to book travel and enjoy the idyllic weather and amazing experiences the city has to offer.

Mural by Phoebe Cornog in Chicago’s West Loop

AI-Driven Content Creation and Personalization

Dynamic Content for Engaging Narratives

AI can create dynamic and personalized content that resonates with individual travelers. Whether it’s tailoring marketing messages or curating travel itineraries based on user preferences, AI-driven content creation gets the right message to the right audience at the right time. Dynamic content can also create social media buzz and associate a destination with a fun experience before travelers have even booked their trip.

Example: VisitBritain’s “Fake (Br)it Till You Make It” AI Voice Technology game

VisitBritain launched a campaign in March 2023 called “Fake (Br)it Till You Make It,” that highlights the richness of Britain’s regional diversity. An online game on VisitBritain’s consumer website uses machine learning, testing players as they attempt to master a variety of accents from across Britain, and then sharing links with destination information to drive bookings. Participants in the game are encouraged to share their results on social media and challenge their friends using the hashtag #FakeBritChallenge.

“Fake (Br)it Till You Make It” is an AI Voice Technology game that tests your ability to fake British accents

Overcoming Challenges and Ethical Considerations

Ensuring Privacy and Building Trust

While the benefits of AI and ML in travel advertising are evident, we also need to be sure users trust us to keep their data private and secure. Advertisers must address concerns related to data privacy, making sure that user information is handled responsibly and ethically. Transparency in how AI is used for personalization and data analysis is key to building trust.

Continuous Adaptation to Technological Evolution

As technology evolves, travel advertisers must stay adaptable. AI and ML algorithms are not static; they continuously learn and adapt. Watauga Group media planners are constantly working to keep pace with these advancements to deliver cutting-edge campaigns to our clients.

Tomorrow’s Travel Advertising

The integration of AI and ML into travel advertising is reshaping the industry, offering new avenues for personalized engagement and innovative campaigns. From AI-driven chatbots providing instant customer assistance to machine learning algorithms shaping targeted advertising, these technologies are truly changing the way we advertise DMOs. Our team at Watauga Group embraces these emerging technologies to help our travel and tourism clients lead the way with personalized, interactive, and immersive campaigns.

Contact us to discover ways that Watauga Group can help with your media strategy. 

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Contact us to discover ways that Watauga Group can help with your media strategy.


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