Virtual To Reality: 5 Travel Brand Experience Considerations

Year after year, virtual reality and other interactive technologies exponentially improve. They’re a natural compliment for travel brand experiences, immersing consumers in new territories without having to move an inch. It sounds amazing on paper, but is it enough to inspire consumers and drive them to a transaction? Not anymore. A successful travel brand experience must be crafted properly with the right support. 

Here are five considerations to keep in mind when engineering your travel experience. 

1. Technology in Moderation

Yes, this is definitely ironic, but technology should only be used when it provides a clear advantage. There’s so much ground breaking technology, we tend to have itchy trigger fingers. Everyone wants to be first-to-market, but at what cost? Bottom line, If technology won’t help immerse consumers in the travel experience, don’t use it.

Some of the best travel marketing experiences this year have been nearly technology free. Disney Parks did just that, leveraging pure human interactions to inspire the Disney Side in everyone, netting just under 5 MM YouTube views. 



2. Be Fun

As if it needed to be said, a brand experience has to be fun! Unfortunately, brands often get caught up injecting an experience with so much messaging, the fun factor is killed. Ask yourself, “is this something I would enjoy doing?” If you can give consumers a good time, trust that they will invest time to learn about you. 

Getting in the holiday spirit, Canadian airline WestJet defined fun with their Christmas Miracle stunt. Passengers expressed their Christmas wishlist from their departure location only to be surprised at baggage claim with personal gifts! The experience itself featured minimal brand messaging but yielded one of the most successful marketing stunt videos to date. 

3. Incentivize

Everyone likes free stuff. Seriously, everyone. That’s why it’s extremely beneficial to include a desirable incentive in your brand experience. For travel brands, there’s no better incentive than to give away free vacations, allowing consumers to experience everything first hand. It might seem costly, but motivation for participation is drastically increased when something worthwhile is on the line. 

The king of experience incentives is undoubtedly JetBlue. In their recent #NYCTakeOff campaign, the sole strategy was contingent on incentives. Featuring tearable vinyl on bus shelters, consumers stopped, claimed their prize and were on their way. 

4. Stimulate the Senses

When you think virtual, you think visual, which only taps into one of our human senses. While building a travel brand experience, picture how you can incorporate all five. By recreating elements of the physical travel experience, consumers will be deeply inspired, remembering the experience for a prolonged period of time. 

Earlier this month, Amtrak’s Teleporter in NYC’s Penn Station combined visual effects with corresponding sounds and gusts of wind to stimulate the consumers senses. These minor details allowed Amtrak to convey a sense of travel, immersing the consumer in their brand attributes. 

5. Conversation Over Conversion

Travelling is a big financial commitment for the general consumer. A decision to go on a vacation could take days, weeks or months to assess. For that reason, the tone of your brand experience should be conversational. Focus on maintaining the consumers brand recollection top of mind for when they are ready to make their travel decisions. 

An ideal example of this principle is the Travel Portland Cuckoo Clock. This 24-hour themed clock delivered Portland style stunts, allowing people to listen to local music, taste native tea samples and the like. Over a six-month period the payoff was big, increasing Portland hotel revenue 4.5%.  

When designing your next big travel brand experience idea, take a minute to evaluate these key considerations. Implementing them well will translate to a better overall consumer experience.

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