Facial Recognition Could Soon Be Part of Your Travel Experience

Travel companies are using facial recognition to make booking vacations easier

A volunteer wears eye-tracking glasses as he browses Vrbo.
A volunteer wears eye-tracking glasses as he browses Vrbo.
The Wall Street Journal

Many factors contribute to the making of a successful travel experience and the slightest issue can quickly turn a good trip bad. In order to ensure more enjoyable traveling, travel companies are now using facial recognition to anticipate the shopping habits and needs of their customers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the home-rental company Vrbo has begun conducting research frequently used by their parent company, Expedia Group. Some of the tests have included using eye-tracking software to monitor a volunteer as he shops for a vacation, tracking the movement of his eyes and where they focus.

“We are trying to take today’s experience and fine-tune it, make it more convenient, more efficient, more enjoyable,” Karl Steiner, senior director for user experience research at Vrbo, told the Journal.

The way in which customers interact with screens often influences their booking decision. The facial recognition tracks seven emotions, five of which Expedia uses. As the emotions of a person change, the system is able to detect it within seconds. The eye tracker alerts the researchers to what caused the change as it tells them what the person was looking at when it occurred.

Although facial recognition has been useful, it is still inadequate when it comes to the more emotionally taxing parts of traveling. “Service is still very crucial. The one thing that highlights good experience versus bad experience is the crew,” Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, co-founder of consulting firms Branding.aero and Nóesis Labs, told the Journal.

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