- Online travel agency Travelocity added its first augmented reality (AR) experience to its mobile app, letting people take pictures and videos that show a digital overlay of the brand's Roaming Gnome mascot. Travelocity's AR camera feature is available anywhere, with or without a Wi-Fi connection or cellular data access, the company announced in a press release.
- Travelocity is running a sweepstakes at its @Travelocity and @RoamingGnome Instagram accounts to encourage customers to try its new AR feature. Travelers who share photos or videos of the virtual Roaming Gnome with the hashtags #RoamLocal and #Sweepstakes through Nov. 18 can win a five-night stay at a resort in Cancun, Mexico.
- The Roaming Gnome has more than 200,000 Twitter followers and nearly 30,000 people tuned in on Instagram. The Travelocity app is free to download for iOS and Android.
Travelocity's Instagram initiative to promote its app's AR features is a creative way to reach tech-savvy millennials, 97% of whom share photos on social media while traveling compared to 60% of all travelers. As Travelocity notes, the AR feature gamifies the experience of taking vacation photos and could drive more people to explore what else the app offers. Encouraging user-generated content through the popular Instagram platform will likely extend the reach of Travelocity's campaign as followers view and share friends' photos, gain brand exposure and possibly download the app to participate.
U.S. millennials are very likely to engage with social media while they travel. "Travel bragging" is common among younger adults, with 66% of 18- to 29-year-olds saying they would rather upload a selfie than a picture with their loved ones (62%) while vacationing, per a study by Travelocity's sister company, Hotels.com. About 60% of the group admitted to uploading pictures, checking in at cool locations (39%) and tracking the amount of interaction on their posts (32%) for bragging purposes while on vacation, the study found.
Travelocity's AR campaign follows last year's contest on the mobile dating app Tinder that gave users a chance to win a 10-day Caribbean vacation for two. This further signals that the travel company is working to capture younger consumers' attention as they gain greater spending potential.
Travelocity is among the travel companies using social media to get in front of younger consumers. U.K. airline EasyJet this month added a feature to its mobile app that helps customers book travel based on pictures they see on Instagram. The "Look and Book" feature uses image-recognition technology and Instagram's geotagging information, Campaign reported. The app then automatically fills out booking information without requiring any additional research, removing major friction for curious travelers.