Discover Your Aloha: How Our Campaign for The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Uses Facial Recognition Software and Drones to Predict Your Island Style

Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President
September 26, 2016

The Hawaiian Islands are unlike any other global travel destination. Known for balmy year-round weather and breathtaking natural beauty, Hawai‘i also has a rich cultural identity that is truly unique, but how do you showcase something so intangible to potential vacation goers? The answer: facial recognition software and drones.

Looking to increase incremental demand and stay competitive at a global level, The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) turned to our Expedia Media Solutions creative partnerships team to develop an innovative, technology-forward marketing campaign that would showcase the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian Islands and inspire travelers.

The result – Discover Your Aloha – is launching today, and we’re excited to reveal to our first campaign integrating facial recognition technology.  


How it Works

The visually stunning ‘Discover Your Aloha’ microsite features video content – with footage largely captured by drones via the land, sea and sky – showcasing the beauty and spirit of Hawai‘i. As the video plays, if the viewer gives permission, then custom-built facial recognition software, developed by digital agency Realise specifically for this campaign, analyzes the physical reactions to the content and identifies which footage evokes the most positive reaction from the viewer. The algorithm identifies the personal preferences of each viewer and pairs them with their ‘Aloha’ represented by animal guide of 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.



Viewers 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.

The campaign will run in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand on Expedia,, Orbitz, Travelocity and Wotif sites throughout the year, but we think now is a great time to ‘Discover Your Aloha’ so check it out today:

Why It Works

We purposely designed a contained environment that directs viewers through the marketing funnel – from inspiration and awareness with the stunning video and facial recognition technology, to consideration with the animal guide videos and content, to conversion with tailored itineraries and booking integrated into the microsite. It’s not just about being innovative, but it’s using innovation in a strategic way to achieve the right results.

Using drones to capture the video footage allowed us to showcase more than what you might see in a typical photo of a beach, putting the traveler directly in the environment. We featured the video content of the land, sea and sky to show viewers what makes Hawai‘i a unique destination. By integrating the facial recognition technology to identify the content and guide that resonates most positively with the viewer, the experience and perception of the Hawaiian Islands as a travel destination can be even more personal and inspiring for the viewer. For added enticement for travelers to experience the islands themselves, we are offering exclusive discounts through our network of partners!


It Takes a Village

This collaboration behind this campaign spans the Hawaiian Islands, and the many stakeholders who are focused on tourism in the state. In addition to working with The HTA and Realise, we want to thank all of our partners that helped with the campaign including Mustache, FX Group, and Skies the Limit that helped with the video production and our local partners including Kualoa Ranch, Polynesian Cultural Center, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Pacific Whale Foundation, Hana Ranch, Princeville Ranch, Kohala Zipline, Wailua Shave Ice and Island Air. For a behind the scenes look at how this all came together, see our video. 


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Picture of Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President
Noah Tratt
Global Senior Vice President
As global senior vice president of Expedia Media Solutions, Noah Tratt oversees all facets of the business including product development and execution, engineering, operations, media sales and business development for the Expedia, Inc. brands. Noah has overseen thousands of digital marketing partner initiatives and has significantly grown the Expedia Media Solutions business over the past several years. With more than two decades of marketing and sales experience, Noah has worked at Microsoft and Xylo, and launched Daily Rocket, a tech startup acquired by Fiserv. He joined Expedia, Inc. in 2002 to lead the car rental business, and later served as vice president of supplier strategy for Expedia Corporate Travel. Noah currently is an officer of the U.S. Travel Association, serving as secretary, and is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing. He has been recognized as one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing, and was inducted into the ClickZ Digital Marketing Hall of Fame. Noah is a graduate of Brown University, and lives with his family in Seattle.
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