The travel industry has taken a huge hit over the last couple of years, but as travel restrictions continue to ease and more of us start to travel for business and holiday abroad again, travel brands should capitalise on the opportunity to target consumers through the latest in Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) innovation.
Gone are the days of static images pasted onto billboards and bus stops. DOOH enables brands to do so much more, from interactivity to automated content, helping travel companies reach potential customers in smart and engaging ways, at a time when it’s more important than ever.
Counteracting ‘banner blindness’
Ad fatigue is real. As the amount of time we spend online – on laptops, tablets, phones and even watches – increases year-on-year, the number of ads we see a day is growing at a rapid rate. A recent study by Kantar found that 73% of UK-based internet users report seeing the same ads “over and over again”. With the online world oversaturated with advertising, many of us now have ‘banner blindness’, a form of selective attention where we consciously or unconsciously ignore banner-like information. For those of us who simply can’t stand banners and pop-ups, opting to use adblockers when browsing online is becoming more common.
With DOOH, this isn’t an issue. DOOH ads are difficult to avoid and stand out to passers-by due to their size and stark contrast to the real-world environment. For this reason, DOOH often has more impact on consumers than online advertising.
A taste of adventure
This ability to get noticed outside of the home is ideal for travel brands, such as airlines, hotels, destinations, tourism boards and online travel companies, whose target customers are people who like to get out and about and experience new things.
When Travel Wisconsin were looking to promote their “experiencing new things” campaign, they used a clever DOOH campaign as their focus. Using a smart mirror (a mirror with a digital display incorporated) installed at bus stops across the US, the campaign allowed passers-by to enjoy a virtual adventure, such as tubing down a river. This immersive experience not only showed consumers what a holiday in Wisconsin can offer, but it also got them to directly engage with the screen, making the brand more memorable, and created a shareable moment that was then shared all over social media, generating further brand awareness.
‘Weather’ or not
One of the biggest influences on purchasing behaviour is the weather. Weather-triggered DOOH campaigns therefore provide the perfect opportunity for travel companies to connect with potential customers when they are most receptive to what travel brands offer. Using real time weather data, such as heavy rain, UV index and pollen count, dynamic digital signage can be programmed to display certain content when a set of conditions is met.
Aruba Tourism Authority used this technology to deliver an inviting DOOH campaign aimed at commuters in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City. Screens throughout the cities displayed images of Aruba’s paradisical beaches, along with targeted messaging based on real time weather data. For example, when the temperature dropped below a certain level in Chicago, a message, such as “Trade the Windy City for Warm Trade Winds” would appear. Cold, wet and desperate to get home, commuters were provided with an almost instant solution to their very current problem – book a holiday abroad and escape the harsh winter weather.
Bridging the digital and physical
The beauty of DOOH is that it can be used to connect with the real world in ways that other forms of advertising can’t. Sensor technology or data feeds from external systems can be built into digital signage to create an interaction between the visuals on a screen and the real-life objects and people around it.
British Airways’ ‘Look Up’ campaign did exactly that. Taking over two huge digital screens in Chiswick and Piccadilly Circus, London, the airline used flight data to determine when a BA aircraft passed overhead and identify what flight it was. A child on the screen then playfully ran towards the plane and pointed up, as if chasing it. The screen would then update with the flight details and a link to BA’s website. The first of its kind in the UK, the campaign created a ‘wow’ moment for the viewers and brought their attention to real planes in the sky. We’ve all looked up at planes flying overhead before and dreamed of jetting off to an exotic location – the campaign tapped into this emotion, helping turn people’s longings into bookings, and of course, going viral at the same time.
Digital Out Of Home is far from new, but as the technology continues to develop, there are increasing ways in which it can be used to deliver powerful campaigns that create engaging and memorable moments for consumers. This tech now provides an incredible digital canvas, in almost any location, that travel brands can utilise to bring extraordinary experiences to life in very ordinary situations, leaving a lasting impression on consumers and, most importantly, encouraging them to act.