Expedia unveils a gaze-driven video campaign for resort hotels
The new effort tracks your gaze so that, in preparation for a luxurious resort vacation, you ‘Never Lift a Finger.’
In the fall of 2016, Expedia Group Media Solutions teamed up with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to launch a web-based campaign that delivered results based on your smile.
With the user’s permission, that “Discover Your Aloha” campaign employed the user’s webcam so that its facial recognition software could see when, during a two-minute video tour of the island, the viewer was smiling. Based on the moments of smiling, the campaign’s algorithms determined which parts of the videos were most pleasing, and then used that info to recommend a customized travel plan for that state.
Now, Expedia is back with its second facial-recognition campaign.
This time, it’s working with Palace Resorts, a chain of luxury hotels in Latin America. So luxurious, apparently, that this campaign is built around the company’s theme that you will “Never Lift a Finger” at their paradises.
After launching the online video quiz, the user is asked for permission to use the webcam. If denied, the user can select the videos manually.
If webcam permission is granted, the user is then asked to line up her face in the camera, so that a red outline of a face becomes green when the user’s eyes are properly aligned.
Then the user is presented with two halves of a screen, initially showing a family-oriented vacation on the left side and an adult-oriented one on the right. (See the two screen shots on this page.)
The facial recognition software tracks the user’s gaze, wiping to full screen the side that the user is looking at for a bit longer. Head motion is also tracked and counted, so a tilt of the head to the right can result in the right-side video moving left to fill the screen.
The system lets the user look for a few seconds before moving on, with available just-looking time shown in an on-screen circular indicator. A bouncing dot on the screen shows where your gaze or head motion moves.
After the first pair of video choices, four additional pairs are similarly presented: adrenaline versus wellness, water activities versus local culture, nightlife with live shows versus outdoor fun and upscale dining versus laidback eateries.
Each time a half-screen video wipes to full screen because of the viewer’s gaze, the system marks that as a selection of that kind of vacation. At the end of the five video pairs, the algorithm recommends a resort that it determines best matches the choices made by the user’s gaze, from 10 oceanfront resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. The entire video quiz is less than a minute.
Angelique Miller, director of creative partnerships at Expedia Group Media Solutions, told me that the campaign is now being made available through ads and promotions on Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Travelocity sites in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the UK, as well as on the Palace Resorts site. She added that Expedia decided to move on from smile-driven campaigns to try a “more native behavior.”
There are no stats yet to indicate if gaze-driven video selections result in more, you know, sales.