BITE Focus

Ads, Apps and Bots

How to travel in 2017

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


It’s January, it’s dark and it’s freezing. Time to start planning a holiday. With information overload, luckily there’s a whole host of ads, apps and bots to help navigate the seemingly endless possibilities.

Choose a destination with your DNA

How will you choose where to go? Google ‘Top five holiday destinations’? Look to your favourite travel mag? Momondo, the site for searching and comparing flights, encouraged people to take inspiration from their own DNA. Their campaign ‘The DNA Journey’ celebrated the colourful diversity of the world by using biological samples to show that there are more things uniting us than dividing us. Competition winners received flights to all the countries of their DNA make-up, and a wider campaign encouraged more people to explore their roots. A really positive message in an uneasy global landscape.

Make it all about me

You’ve chosen your destination, now you need help planning the trip. What’s the best way to cut through the thousands of reviews and photographs? IBM Watson has been partnering with travel companies to apply cognitive analytics to social data to understand what a destination is really like and help businesses to create experiences that revolve around the individual.

Wayblazer is AI for travel. It thinks about travel like people do. The technology extracts meaningful information, this involves reading every description, looking at every photo and understanding every review. As travelers conduct a search, Wayblazer develops an understanding of the trip type and purpose through declared, observed and inferred data. The aim is to understand the traveler, the trip, and the hotel, at a contextual level.

Trust in the hand of bot

Now you’ve planned the trip, wouldn’t a personal travel assistant be great? After booking a flight on you can choose to receive your booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding pass and flight status updates via Messenger. No need to open an app or check flight information, the friendly bot will keep passengers updated via existing messaging tools. Travellers can also ask questions any time of the day. Surely this frees up enough time for an extra gin and tonic at the airport?

Arriving at the hotel you’re greeted by a small white robot perched on the front desk. The robot’s name is Connie, after Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel chain. Last year Hilton partnered with IBM Watson to pilot new AI for its hotels in the US. Much like WayBlazer, Connie uses declared, observed and inferred data to answer common questions about the weather, places to visit, and hotel activities.

Venture offline and meet a local legend

You’ve made it out of the hotel and into the depths of a new city, but there’s no data or wifi. Not to worry, Google Trips works without either. The app features customisable itineraries for the world’s top 200 cities, created using data from previous travellers' experiences. It also links to your Gmail account, helping to find those saved reservations and travel documents more easily.

Whilst you’re thoroughly enjoying your hassle-free holiday, I’m sure you’re beginning to crave a bit of real human interaction. Last year Airbnb expanded their offer by launching Experiences, a new platform connecting visitors with ‘local legends’ like surf pros, up-and-coming artists or master chefs. Through Experiences travellers can take part in activities that inspire creativity, problem-solving and spontaneity, more than your basic holiday needs.

Don’t forget me!

Now you’re back home you don’t want to be forgotten. Using 20 years of customer data easyjet created an eCRM campaign that used real stories to bring their customers’ travels back to life, and create a shared history. Individual emails made personal travel recommendations, profiled destinations visited, and suggested new, relevant ones. Connecting EasyJet to fond memories, the emails helped to put customers in the right frame of mind for booking another trip.

Unfortunately this journey is over, however I want to leave you with some inspiration from brands doing innovative and creative work within this sector. As if you need any more reasons to book a holiday.

Virgin Holidays live stream ad from 18 countries

#SeizeTheHoliday was the world’s first live-streamed global ad. The campaign featured 18 holiday destinations and needed 90 production teams around the world to produce. Live broadcasts included horse trekking in Maui, snorkeling in the Caribbean and worshiping at a temple in Thailand. The ambitious spot from Virgin Holidays was to promote the company’s long-haul options by showing ‘real people doing authentic things’ and encourage people to #SeizeTheHoliday. The campaign resulted in 16.9 million impressions from its promoted tweets and 838 web searches per minute at 8.20pm when it was broadcast live during the X Factor.

Agency: AMV BBDO, London & ITN Productions, London

Audi and Airbnb's adrenaline fueled retreat

As part of its Emmy Awards sponsorship, Audi and Airbnb will offer fans the chance to book two nights at the luxury Rondolino Residence in Death Valley, Nevada. A place so isolated, it has no actual address - just coordinates on a map. A unique Airbnb listing described the experience as ‘the ultimate full-throttle driving fantasy. An adrenaline fueled retreat, where you can live out your land speed dreams in the place where cars have come throughout history to prove their mettle – the dry lake beds of the American West.’ Sounds exciting right? During their stay, guests had full access to the Audi R8 V10, personal chef, and curated experiences such as stargazing.

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco

Spies encourages couples to 'do it for Denmark'

Spies, the Danish travel company, made it their mission to overturn the country’s low birth rate. Insight revealed 10% of Danish children are conceived whilst couples are on holiday, giving birth to their campaign Do It For Denmark. A special ovulation discount calendar helped customers find their most fertile holiday time. And if they could prove a baby was conceived during a Spies break, they were entered into a competition to win three years’ worth of baby gifts and a family holiday. The campaign gained attention across national and international media. The latest iteration ‘Do It Forever’ encourages couples to go on holiday and have more sex, leading to improved health and life expectancy.

Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, Copenhagen

easyJet explores the lighter side of travel

Global terror attacks and Brexit have dented consumer confidence. This was felt particularly strongly within the travel sector. In the three months to 30th June easyJet’s revenue fell 2.6% year on year to £1.2bn. Rather than get disheartened they unveiled their new campaign "Why not?", a light-hearted and optimistic film encouraging travellers to be more spontaneous. The campaign blended the best of easyJet’s cheeky and irreverent low cost heritage with a more sophisticated, premium body language, and allowed them to engage in a different conversation with customers - a conversation that avoided the traditional price-quality trade-off and instead, engaged in terms of experience and mindset.

Agency: VCCP Partnership, London