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The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Expedia Media Solutions Use Custom-Built Facial Recognition Software to Create Personalized Travel Marketing Campaign

September 29, 2016 Destination Hawaii No Comments Email Email

Expedia® Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of Expedia, Inc., and The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (The HTA), tourism agency for the State of Hawai‘i, today announced the launch of a new global marketing campaign, ‘Discover Your Aloha,’ to promote travel to the Hawaiian Islands through a custom solution featuring facial recognition technology. The first time that Expedia Media Solutions has integrated facial recognition software into a partner marketing campaign, the technology measures viewers’ reactions as they engage with the video content showcasing the beauty and unique cultural elements of the Hawaiian Islands.


On the ‘Discover Your Aloha’ microsite, users are exposed to video content featuring drone footage, that represent a guide of spiritual significance to Hawaiian culture, including ‘Iwa (Bird): Hawai‘i’s all-knowing guide; He‘e (Octopus): Hawai‘i’s loving spirit; Pua‘a (Pig): Hawai‘i’s bold adventurer. As the video plays, the bespoke facial recognition software, developed specifically for this campaign by digital agency Realise, identifies which footage evokes the most positive reaction from the viewer. The facial recognition algorithm identifies the personal preferences of each viewer and produces a customized travel recommendation aligned with one of the three Hawai‘i guides. Users then have the opportunity to book a personalized Hawai‘i vacation package with discounts of up to 50 percent, including exclusive offers from dozens of participating local hotels.

“Discover Your Aloha is the first campaign where we integrated facial recognition software, and is an example of the type of innovation we can bring, at scale with our global audience, to our marketing partners,” said Noah Tratt, senior global vice president of Expedia Media Solutions. “The campaign was custom designed and built for The HTA, from start to finish, as a unique way to inspire, inform and incite travel to the Hawaiian Islands.”

The year-long campaign is designed to generate awareness and increase incremental demand to the Hawaiian Islands and uses innovative technology and inspirational content as a way to connect with travelers—especially millennial audiences—while remaining competitive. To complement the microsite, Hawai‘i travel guides will host takeovers of Expedia’s social channels, including Instagram and Snapchat, throughout the year to share new, seasonal and behind-the-scenes content. These takeovers will help the coveted millennial audience discover their ideal Hawai‘i experience, and increase awareness for the destination’s one-of-a-kind culture and geography.

“Through this innovative technology, Expedia Media Solutions has helped us to further distinguish Hawai‘i as an incomparable destination by bringing to life and personalizing the distinct culture and magnificent geography that set us apart from other destinations,” said Randy Baldemor, chief operating officer of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “In keeping with our vision to make greater, more effective use of technology to promote Hawai’i, the drone-shot video footage and facial recognition software allows travel consumers to discover the qualities they find most appealing and inspire them to book a trip to the Hawaiian Islands.”

The campaign functions across desktop and mobile devices, and targets consumers across the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand with display advertising on Expedia,, Orbitz, Travelocity and Wotif points of sale. The video footage was produced by creative agency Mustache, with the help of FX Group, a local Hawai‘i photo and video production company, and Sky’s the Limit, an aerial photography and videography company. The facial recognition software was developed by digital agency Realise. For more information visit:

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