Technology is completely changing advertising in the travel and tourism industry. Where before, tv, radio and print media were the major channels for ad campaign distribution, today, we have a plethora of avenues at our disposal. Whether it’s web, mobile, social media, apps, virtual reality or live streaming, the technology opportunities are endless, with new platforms, apps, and tools being developed every day.

Many brands are even using non-traditional media technology, like heart rate monitors, to execute innovative, eye-catching and creative campaigns for destination promotion.

Want to learn more about these innovators? Check out our list of best ads and campaigns in the Travel and Tourism industry for 2019:

Tourism Ireland: Fill Your Heart with Ireland

Tourism Ireland recently launched its first global campaign after a seven-year hiatus and they didn’t shy away from making a statement with their jump back into the game.

With a literal interpretation of creating memories ‘from the heart,’ their global campaign used the biometric data from a Swedish couple who had never visited the country. The video, cinema and online campaign created by Publicis London was aptly named: ‘Fill your heart with Ireland.’

Using the heart rate data and head-mounted cameras that recorded the couple’s travel experiences, the producers compiled clips of footage that coincided with the couple’s elevated heart rates and corresponding physiological responses.

Mark Henry, Central Marketing Director for Tourism Ireland said of the ads: “This is the world’s first-ever marketing campaign to use tourists’ biometric data to design an advert. We have combined data and creativity to literally show how the island of Ireland fills visitors’ hearts with positive emotion. The ad has researched extremely positively because viewers can see it is clearly authentic and credible; and we’re confident that it will motivate them to want to travel to Ireland to experience this for themselves.”

With eight consecutive years of tourism growth prior to the campaign launch, the DMO wanted to stun international travellers with its innovative use of technology while also highlighting the many lesser-known locations in the country. By all accounts,  they succeeded (their 30-second video on YouTube has over 3 million views) while “official CSO figures for the first five months of 2019 indicate that overseas arrivals increased by +3.7% – around 140,600 more than in January-May 2018,” according to Visit Ireland’s official website.

Black & Abroad: Go Back to Africa

In a gritty, topical and engaging look at current political and societal trends, Black & Abroad, a travel curation company run by Eric Martin and Kent Johnson, joined forces with the agency FCB/SIX to turn a common racist phrase against African Americans into a poignant social media and online movement about the beauty of Africa.

Using AI, the creative forces were able to troll racist tweets and posts that used the hashtag #GoBacktoAfrica and bomb the accounts with stunning images of the continent in response. They then created a video showcasing the inspiration, creation and effect of their work, while also encouraging travellers to visit the many incredible destinations that Africa has to offer.

In an article with CNN, Johnson said: “We worked with a social listening company who checked various sites and found that the phrase had been used around 4,500 to 5,000 times a month, usually in a negative way.” He continued, “When we first started telling people the amount of times the phrase was used, they didn’t believe us, so to have President Trump say essentially ‘go back to where you came from,’ it gave some credence to what we have been doing with this campaign.”

Turning the bigotry around, the teams worked hard to inspire a new meaning for the phrase. Martin, in the same interview with CNN, addressed this, saying: “We wanted to let them [those using the phrase] know, first of all, that Africa is a continent, not a country. There are 54 different countries, flavours and cultures.” He added, “We are bringing it to a place of happiness, excitement, and beauty so there’s no more negative use of it. We are giving it a positive intent.”A bold and powerful use of technology in the travel industry, the campaign recently won the Grand Prix for creative data at the Cannes Lions festival last month—an accolade it certainly deserved. You can learn more about the creative process in their case study below:

HotelTonight: “A Hard Deal to Deal With,” FOBO (Fear of Better Options) and Daily Drop Deals


In an era when swiping has major clout, HotelTonight, an online Hotel Booking App owned by Airbnb, made use of the feature and turned hotel booking into a game-like hunt for hotel deals.

Specifically, they created a swipe-right feature that offers extra discounted hotel deals up to 30% lower than their other rates. To get the deals, users have to swipe right under a short time frame before the limited quantities disappear.

In an interview with AdWeek, Beth Teague, head of HotelTonight brand marketing, said the online and video campaign really showcased the app’s innovative addition to app booking: “It’s fun and competitive—it even becomes addictive—because everyone wants to get a great deal so they can tell their friends.” She added, “If you don’t jump on the Daily Drop right away, it’s gone. So, that encourages people to be spontaneous and get out of their comfort zones.”

Playing on the acronym FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), HotelTonight worked with San-Francisco-based agency, Mekanism, to conceive a variation of the millennial phrase: FOBO, Fear of Better Options—the feeling that occurs when travellers miss out on great deals or better available options.

Already generating a lot of press, the campaign highlights how the bar can always be raised and reinvented when it comes to travel and technology.