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26/07/2019 - Views

Looking to the future to create a better advertising experience in travel

On a recent visit to Future Travel Experience (FTE) EMEA in Istanbul, I was inspired and encouraged by some of the dynamics driving the future of the connected consumer, as outlined by futurist Rohit Talwar from Fast Future. His glimpse of our 2024 destination journey presented an interesting set of challenges and opportunities for advertisers. The trends he presented, led me to consider what the real opportunities are for advertisers and in particular, the ways in which they can capitalise on connectivity and how AI-led advances will affect the travel space. 

Overall, they paint a picture that ambitious, forward-thinking advertisers would do well to capitalise on quickly, and would allow them to sponsor, fund or co-fund huge chunks of travel that they can only dream about today. As you can see outlined below, each trend comes with incredible possibility and scope to truly influence and alter the way advertisers communicate with the connected traveller:

Trend 1. 
No longer do we have to simply come up with an idea. Through wearable tech, AI monitoring of our physical profile could indicate when we need a break. Stressed, anxious? Time to book a holiday.

Holiday ads served to you individually through your digital profile, and on an automated basis in the real world on your way to the office – either in your driverless car or through public transport.

Trend 2.
AI will notice what have you enjoyed recently. Any association to a given country – e.g. Mexican food, watching a film featuring an African landscape. 

Sensory ads served through personal devices allowing AR previews of this experience will allow immersive experiences close to real life. More of a trailer for a movie than a search for a hotel.

Trend 3.
AI will build a package based on all your conscious and indeed unconsciously identified preferences and give you the option to book.  

There is certainly the likelihood of advertisers being able to bid to be key booking partners for these experiences – either immediately travel related, or products and services included in the proposed holiday.

Trend 4.
When getting ready to leave, there will be no need to carry luggage around. Your specified wardrobe will be 3D printed to be ready for you upon your arrival. 

Clear potential here to use digital inflight to serve ads for clothes to buy and be printed prior to your arrival at your destination. A whole new e-commerce industry to consider! 

Trend 5.
Driverless car bidding for other cars to move out the way in traffic.

Ever since driverless cars have been around there has been debates over the role of roadside OOH media. In the future more than ever, creative will be king. To gain attention of passengers, advertisers will need to stand out through personalisation and context, but most importantly, impact. Billboards will not go away. Through real time digital delivery, creative is likely to be more in tune to that unique individual, and their mood at that part of the journey.

Trend 6.
Checking in through biometrics, as with all airport transactions including security, shopping, passing through security. 

What does this mean to ad placements? In theory less dwell time, more relaxed time moving around the terminal. Could digital screens replace all walls- constantly evolving surroundings and association opportunities for advertisers.

Trend 7.
Killing time having passed through security is likely to be easier and easier. Experiences through VR will become near real-life.

In-lounge VR gaming has been trialled in Germany, Elisabeth Huber from Munich Airport suggests passengers are willing to pay… but there’s a catch. At present only 1st person shooters have sufficient demand for monetisation. As content develops and more captivating (non-violent) experiences improve, this is a huge opportunity for both traditional gaming companies, and any other advertiser who wants to showcase an experience of their product or service. 

Trend 8.
Sleeping in flight- choosing dreams – moving on from the blurring of the online and offline world.

The futurist Ray Kurzweil has elaborated on this, and his hypothesis is that once our knowledge of artificial intelligence, technology, biology and neurology are sufficiently advanced, we will be able to ‘sleep hack’. Ethically whether advertisers would want to enter this world is another question all together. 

Trend 9.
Facial recognition on entry to destination.

Advertisers will be able to tap in to unique preferences and individual behaviours – travellers most likely getting reduced rates for advertiser involvement in the stay.

Trend 10.
Fully digital walls, connecting with work/family.

Brand sponsorship of connections brings an offer of a quality service, delivering tangible value to consumers. E.g., “this full room experience is brought to you by Samsung, this conference call is managed through Cisco”.

Trend 11.
Both from a reading and a listening perspective, traditional language translation will be a thing of the past. Wearables will allow us to see and hear our native language in real time when travelling.

From a creative perspective, and a global standardisation of copy, this offers huge potential for OOH, both in terms of creative application, and then based on placement based on new consumer expectations. 

Trend 12.
No longer posting holiday snaps on Facebook. A full AI review of the trip, posted to your social profile – with others experience it through AR, potential for holiday experiences to go viral. Moving on from the influencers of today to those of tomorrow.

With the lines between the online and offline world becoming more and blurred, virtual ads and sponsorships may become as valuable as physical ads in the real world. We’re already seeing this with billboard placements in gaming today. A natural development in what’s an industry with great potential. 

What is certain from these trends is that change in behaviours and a buoyant marketplace, will create an ideal environment for brands to capitalise on connected travel experiences.

Ambitious and forward-thinking advertisers have the opportunity to sponsor, partner, fund or co-fund any of these ideas. Actually, making many of these ideas a reality is our collective challenge, but one that we should embrace.

With Latitude, Plexus’s Connected Traveller offering, we ensure that our partner advertisers take these trends in to account, whilst always being at the forefront of ambitious plans for targeting the connected consumer of the future. 

Written by Tom Perrett, International Client Services Director, Plexus.