Editor’s Note: Augmented Reality Check
I just got back from a great conference called InterACT (full disclosure: it was co-produced by our parent company, North American Publishing Company). The program was designed to teach marketers and print/marketing service providers how to integrate print, online, mobile and social media to deliver interactive marketing campaigns that drive business results.
A hot topic at the event was augmented reality (AR), and how brands can use it to achieve success. While we've covered AR in these pages before, I have to admit, I'm a bit of a skeptic, especially when it comes to bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles. That said, I was impressed by some of the case studies presented at InterACT; specifically, those that were able to tie revenue increases to their AR programs.
Vic Walia, senior director of brand marketing for Hotels.com, spoke at the conference about an AR microsite his company launched earlier this year, dubbed "Virtual Vacation," and how it helped increase revenues for the brand. The microsite allows people to use their webcams and computer microphones to convert a special "glyph" on print and email advertisements into 3-D animated versions of 10 U.S. cities, including New York City, Denver, New Orleans and Las Vegas. It also uses Hotels.com's claymation character "Smart" to guide people through the cities. While touring, users can take part in various activities, such as getting married in Vegas or riding a bull in Denver, Walia said.
Hotels.com promoted the AR technology via a print advertising campaign aimed at the technical and travel markets; used PR and social media; and integrated its booking engine into the site to monetize the experience. The results were impressive. Since the AR website was launched in May, Walia said traffic to Hotels.com increased 26 percent; transactions were up 36 percent; and registration to its "Welcome Rewards" program increased 32 percent.