Augmented Reality Captures the Attention of Future Travelers

Research from Kantar Media and Snapchat reveal surprising insights into the power of augmented reality in shaping consumer travel behavior.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels
escobar
person looking at a digital world map

In July 2023, Kantar and Snapchat partnered together to field a study on how consumers use augmented reality during travel. What it found might surprise you. To begin with, 77% of the study’s participants (between the ages of 13-49 years old) said they would use AR to find travel inspiration and 70% said they would use AR to plan their travel.

“Nowadays, hotel marketers are facing huge consumer demand for travel coupled with intensifying competition for attention,” explains Kelly Covato, Senior Manager, Travel Sales at Snap. “That’s where augmented reality (AR) can come in — to cut through the noise and engage travelers in a way no other type of ad can offer. 

“With AR, Snapchatters are making a conscious choice to engage with a brand’s content in an immersive way, which they then often share with their Snapchat friends. This makes it an incredibly powerful way for brands to reach people, command their attention, and build loyalty. For example, on Snapchat, the immersive nature of our AR Lenses generate so much more attention that other platforms would need to run fourteen to twenty video ads to generate a similar level of attention (Source).”

So how might hoteliers engage with consumers on Snapchat or other AR platforms?

Hotel marketers should capitalize on creating filters that utilize the “selfie view,” says Jed Meyer, SVP, Media Solutions Leader, Kantar. This gives consumers that ability to picture themselves at the hotel pool, under a cabana at the beach, or relaxing at the spa. Similarly, hotels could consider incorporating filters/lenses which alter environments, help visualize an object in space, or transform backgrounds as these filters are most likely to drive consideration for travel overall. 

Disney is doing this with its Disney’s PhotoPass Lenses which lets Snapchatters virtually see themselves at different Disney Parks.

Our partners have also found that gamified, selfie, and other interactive AR experiences can be equally engaging and powerful,” Covato says. “This summer, Priceline kicked off their ‘Go to your happy price’ campaign on Snapchat with an AR Lens that morphed Snapchatters’ faces into bouncing beach balls in a pool. The Happy Price Lens out-performed industry benchmarks, with people spending an average of 8-seconds engaging with the lens.”

Making a conscious effort to engage with consumers via AR, has the potential to pay real dividends. For example, the study found that Snapchatters are more likely to travel that non-Snapchat users. Seven out of 10 Snapchatters traveled in the last six months compared to five out of 10 non-Snapchatters, and eight out of 10 Snapchatters plan to travel in the next six months compared to six out of 10 non-Snapchatters. 

Additionally, Snapchat users are more spontaneous and adventurous with 61% booking a trip within three months of the travel date. 

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