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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : January 11, 2018

Travel firms introduce facial recognition destination searching

Marketers can't read consumers' minds - yet - but advances in facial recognition technology can let them read your face. Read on to find out how facial recognition technology has already begun to make an impact in the travel industry.

by Helen Leggatt

The travel industry is not scared to embrace new technologies. As far back as 2013, British tour operator Thomas Cook launched a concept store that featured virtual reality. Store visitors were able to immerse themselves in a holiday experience by 'visiting' one of Thomas Cook's resorts or having a look around the company's airline using an Oculus Rift setup.

It is not unusual, then, to see the travel industry adopting the very latest technology. Two travel companies - and Tui (formerly Thomson) - have implemented facial recognition technology to ascertain consumers' holiday preferences. has launched SenseSational, a multi-sensory facial recognition tool able to work out which destinations and experiences most excite the consumer so they can book the right trip. The tool negates any physical interaction and relies instead on real-time micro facial movements and gaze captured by a device's camera.


Using this information, the tool then puts the user into one of four travel 'tribes', including The Adventurer, Culture Collector, Sun Seeker and Bon Vivant. It then suggests key destinations that may be of interest.

"SenseSational mimics this emotive storytelling and analyses the way we engage with certain textures, tastes and sounds, giving us an insight into how technology will continue to shape the consumer journey and help us form completely tailored travel experiences, engaging our senses every step of the way," says Mark McKenna, commercial director at

Travel company Tui (formerly Thomson) have also showcased a facial recognition solution to destination discovery with the unveiling of the 'Destination U' chair. Designed in the shape of the Tui logo, the chair contains a screen on which a series of moving images of destinations and experiences are shown. The emotionally intelligence technology computes facial responses to the imagery and that data is used to calculate a perfect holiday.

Tuil worked with emotional intelligence marketing experts Realeyes to develop the 'Destination U' prototype.


"90% of human decision-making is done without us actively thinking about it - subconsciously. Traditionally, brands have sought to understand consumers' responses through verbal or written feedback - asking them a series of tedious questions," says Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma. "But emotion measurement technology captures and delivers unfiltered emotional responses in real-time, delving much deeper and detecting non conscious signals to stimuli. People aren't considering their responses, they are organically reacting, giving a far more intuitive and raw response."

According to research conducted in April, 2017 (Orbis Research), the Global Gesture Recognition Market (includes facial recognition, lip movement, eye tracking, voice recognition and any other body movement) is set to grow at a projected CAGR of 30% between 2017 and 2022.

Tags: technology, travel, trends

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