Hawaii Tourism Authority using new technology to attract more millennials to the islands

Video still courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority
Video still courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Technology is changing the world we live in and the Hawaii Tourism Authority is using it to its advantage.

It’s part of a strategy to attract more millennials to the islands.

Millennials are a major focus group in the tourism industry so the HTA said using technology that’s at their fingertips was the obvious answer.

For the fifth year in a row, Hawaii has seen record setting numbers for visitors and spending, but with stiff competition from other parts of the world, the Hawaii Tourism Authority isn’t getting comfortable.

“The baby boomers are big in Hawaii,” Leslie Dance, Vice-President of Marketing for the HTA, said. “They come back again and again and again but it’s an aging population.”

The HTA is amping up their focus on the travelers of tomorrow: millennials.

“We have to be innovative, we have to use things like technology,” Dance said. “They’re constantly connected.”

The HTA is taking several approaches. First up, they’re partnering with the website Expedia.com in what they call a first-of-its kind marketing campaign to reach millennials.

Users can opt to allow the site to use facial recognition features while they watch a video of Hawaii from their laptop, smart phone or tablet.

“It shows a video of the Hawaiian islands, all of them,” Dance said. “What it does is, through facial recognition, it sees how you react to the experiences.”

For example, if a user smiles when they see something like diving but turn away when they see something like zip lining, the site will eventually put together a list of activities the user may like based on their reactions.

Next, the Go Hawaii app is getting a re-vamp that’ll be unveiled next week at the Hawaii Tourism Conference.

Go Hawaii app

“We’ll also have virtual reality, a new website so we have a lot of thinking behind technology and how technology should work,” Dance said.

Technology aside, the HTA is also appealing to millennial interests in food, music and culture.

“We’re doing something with Quest Love, for instance, from the band The Roots, he’s going to do a food salon here in Hawaii,” Dance said. “We believe in our destination and the differentiators that we have, not only the sun and surf but our culture.

The HTA said it’s not just focusing on millennials from the mainland but all over the world with particular focus just added in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

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