Social Media Trend # 5 – Welcome to Augmented Reality

Bannikin | March 15, 2018

The future is here. Welcome to Augmented Reality – trend # 5 in my series that discusses the top 7 trends your travel company needs to know to win social media, in 2018 and beyond.

From catching Pikachu to dancing hotdogs taking over mobile screens everywhere, AR (Augmented Reality), enhances real world experiences by displaying 2D or 3D information such as graphics or sounds that people can interact with.

What’s the advantage for travel brands on social? Endless possibilities to enhance your guest’s experiences and for users (aka travellers) to interact with your product.

With the release of the iPhone8 and iPhone X and platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram offering a range of AR effects and filters for users to add to their photos and videos, interact with, and share – AR is one of the most exciting trends for travel brands to get on board with and implement into their social media strategies this year.

How can your brand enhance the traveler’s experiences with AR on social media?

Get rolling with these strategies to start:

Be the guest, be the guest. Think about your guest’s experiences and how you can use social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, and AR filters to enhance the content you share with your users as well as the content users share about your product.

Destinations, tour operators, and lodges can use AR filters that provide users with important information like weather forecasts or geotags of locations recommending an amazing trailhead. You could also create a fun, interactive experience where users can discover more about certain historical landmarks or cultural gems by using AR on an app and uploading their experiences to social media to share with friends and family.

The Discover Moscow Photo app lets visitors virtually meet historical figures in the locations that are significant to their stories.

Another noteworthy campaign is an AR experience set up by National Geographic in a mall. Participants looked to a big screen to find themselves interacting with animated wildlife and astronauts. Watch the video below to see how this experience created content for both Nat Geo and for users to share on social.

Place yourself in the shoes of your guest and the opportunities for AR on social media are endless!

Catch ‘em all with Gamification. Who doesn’t love being entertained? Focus on how you create interactive and engaging experiences through gamification and storytelling. Remember when you could spot Pokémon GO! players from a mile away? The game drove people to explore real-life locations while utilizing the player’s mobile device’s GPS ability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon. These animations appear on the screen as if they were at the same real-world location as the player and the opportunities for local businesses and destinations to attract new visitors during this craze were phenomenal.

Insert your branded filter here. Think you can outdo the dancing hotdog? Creating an AR filter or lens for your brand is a fun way to stand out from the rest and provides an entertaining way for fans to interact with your brand.

Does creating your own AR seem far-fetched? Never fear! With new technology like the I-Phone X, Snapchat’s Lens Studio, and AR platforms released by Facebook, Google, and Apple, it’s never been easier for marketers and users to create their own branded AR.

I suggest experimenting with Snapchat’s Lens Studio to start. The studio seems the most user-friendly with easy to follow guides, templates and a how-to YouTube channel. Even if Snapchat doesn’t fit your target demographic, Lens Studio is a fun tool to get you comfortable with AR.

Snapchat also has some interesting features for travel brands to delve into. For example, geofilters are special overlays for Snaps (photo and video) that can only be accessed in certain locations.


Experimenting with these effects could lead to some real marketing magic.

Let’s say you’re an eco-lodge located in the heart of the Amazon. In the future, it could be possible to use magical effects like AR lens on Snapchat to create something fun and interactive like a 2D jaguar (similar to the Nat Geo AR experience) that only your guests have access to while staying at your lodge. This unique effect would not only engage your guests but encourage them to share that experience on social media.

Stay tuned! Next post I’ll discuss AI and how to best implement this on social media for your travel brand.

Looking to improve your travel brand’s social media strategy? Find out more about how Bannikin can help you here.