4 years ago

Let the games begin: Google Glass used for the first time in destination marketing

It was only a matter of time: Google Glass has been used for the first time in a destination marketing campaign.

The Beaches of Fort Meyers and Sanibel invited five Google Glass Explorers to come experience the destination as part of the “Find Your Island” promotion.

The Explorers also completed a series of activities and challenges that showcased both the destination and the potential for Glass in the hospitality sector.

You can learn more about the event including an announcement video, explorer bios and more on the Find Your Island Challenge section of the destination’s website.

In addition to the Glass Explorers, the promotion included a public sweepstakes, under the name “Find Your Island #throughglass.” The sweepstakes was promoted via the destination’s Facebook Page, and has the grand prize of a trip to the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and a pair of Google Glass – once they become available to the general public for sale.

The actual Glass event lasted two days, and the initial footage of the promotion was compiled in the following video.

MMGY Global, the firm running the campaign for the destination, has reported the following initial results. From the week of 9/4 to 9/8, they saw:

  • Over 1,200 photos and videos captured and shared with Glass.
  • Over 6GB of #FindYourIsland data (video and images) shared by Google Glass Explorers.
  • Over 8,000 entries in the Find Your Island #ThroughGlass Sweepstakes.
  • Reached 1.3 million social media users.
  • Generated 17.9 million social media impressions.

The sweepstakes element of the campaign is ongoing, with a slated end date of October 1st.

The potential for Glass to offer first-person travel perspectives is very clear, and this will most certainly not be the last promotion featuring Glass as a central element.

However, shifting into analysis mode for a moment, the central question with this technology is whether or not people care enough to watch someone else’s unedited, first-person perspective of everything they are doing. Is this technology truly solving a problem or is it a showcase and marketing device for Google that is just a product in search of a reason for being?

Will this personal perspective driven content replace the considered, planned and attractive content creation that comes from employing professionals to showcase a destination, or will the rough-around-the-edges, first-person UGC become the de facto means of in-destination promotion?

Do potential visitors want to see it just as another visitor saw it, or do they want the idealized, creatively-fueled versions that come from employing professional content creators able to find the most stunning shots and create compelling narratives that build atmosphere and brand around a destination?

All of this remains to be seen – and there will certainly be a slew of campaigns forthcoming that will show us the potential of the wearable tech revolution in travel.

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Nick Vivion

About the Writer :: Nick Vivion

Nick is the Editorial Director for Tnooz. Prior to this role, Nick has multi-hyphenated his way through a variety of passions: restaurateur, photographer, filmmaker, corporate communicator, Lyft driver, Airbnb host, journalist, and event organizer.



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  1. CB SIngh

    Well its still to early that whether google glass in destination tour will go viral. Just imagine what if a family of 4 visit a resort and all of them are carrying a handycam. Does this sound normal. Same story goes with google glass. What if all the familyy members are carrying google glass and chances are high that they will miss all the tech-less entertainment.

    Well its the traveller who need to question this. Who am I to decide. For me a trip to desert, ocean is something which you want to experience by your own eyes, feel with fingers, and pictures are just like a memory which will remind you of the time to spend on the destination.

  2. Baljeet Sangwan

    I see this is as another one of those dumbing-down devices, more gimmick than utility: essentially, Google throwing some putty at the wall to see if it sticks…

  3. Alastair McKenzie

    Groan! Jeremy gets there first, again! #extremejealousy 😉

  4. Jeremy Head

    Having been lucky enough to try on a pair at Google HQ in London yesterday I can say that the hardware is amazingly cool. Surprisingly easy to use. I agree though – I’m not remotely interested in someone else’s video/pics unedited. Anyway… just give them a go-pro camera… it’s the same, right.
    A lot of the funcationality I expected that would really be awesome for travel (like Craig describes too) like looking at a place and saying ‘OK Google what is that building?’ and having it tell you and give you info about it isn’t there yet. It’s basically just taking your android phone’s functionality and allowing you to leave that in your pocket. It is awesomely fast though. That was a surprise… but I was inside Google on their (doubtless) high speed wifi.

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      Yes WiFi speed is such an important consideration, as is the availability of fast data networks in areas that would be most useful for Glass – such as when traveling and seeking information.


  5. Alastair McKenzie

    Yep, this is it. This is what some of us have been talking about since that launch day back in June 2012 at the Google I/O.

    Glass will soon be THE standard UGC marketing tool and, as Alex says above, geolocated apps like Field Trip, and google maps will feature consumer Glass video reviews and semi-pro video content.

    “You want to know what the spa facilities are like at our resort? We have a Glass user guest in resort right now who has taken a 20% discount in return for being available to show you around in a Google Hangout”

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      I’m also interested to see how Glass gets integrated with employees – or perhaps Memoto, which logs moments as they happen. Facial recognition could be integrated to more quickly pull up and process reservations of VIPs, for example. Privacy of course is a central issue, but the applications are intriguing.


      • Alastair McKenzie

        On employees. I’ve been wondering why hotel chains haven’t been equipping their concierges with tablets (Nexus 7 would be perfect) so they can field questions from guests and would be guests.

        “Is there on site parking? Yes Sir, let me just show you. (walks outside) If you pull in here, we’ll unload you and then you can park there. You see the entrance to our underground car park? Or we’ll valet park it for you…”

        So Glass, when it goes on sale would be a no-brainer. Starwood, Fairmont, Hilton, etc should be putting in bulk orders, now.

  6. Patrick Mulder

    I guess a great way to capture UGC for Fort Myers. Interesting to find out about the cost of setting up a campaign and if this also drives more travellers. At the moment I have more a “Look what Google Glass can do” feeling. But I love the fact they are early-adapters.

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      And ultimately – it got them press, which is pretty much what these things are all about, right? That’s generally the key value for brands to engage with new technologies.

      Definitely curious to see how Glass pans out longer term as a promotional device.



  7. Loki

    Hey Nick, as one of the Explorers that went to Florida I’d love to catch up to you over coffee and discuss. I see you live here in NOLA so it should be easy to do.

    Catch me at the Rising Tide conference this weekend or lets try to meet up next week sometime.


    • Jeris JC Miller

      Nick & Loki – It would be awesome if you two would get together … I would love to hear a followup to this conversation. A HangOut with #TheGlassSquad perhaps??

      Kind regards, Jeris

      • Loki

        Actually we may have a chance to converse today. Nick is coming to the Rising Tide conference so I am going to try to pull away from my MC duties and hand out with him for a bit.

        As to an actual Google Hangout, I’ll bring it up this afternoon if he has not already seen these comments.

        • Nick Vivion

          Nick Vivion

          We did get to meet! It was great, and I think we will have a lot to talk about in the future.


  8. Craig Benson

    Nick.. I’d have to say your analysis and questions might be useful for 10 years from now. Right now, Google can give these to anyone and ask for feedback or have a promotion or glasses kind of competition. But in real life, Google Glass are worn by a very small group of Google-centric geeks in the Bay Area. And they don’t have as much usefulness or information as they want to pretend.

    Personally, I’d love to be able to go someplace ( local or on vacation ) and have a device that shows me what history happened there. That would be like my dream app, having a glasses kind of hardware where I could go to Paris and it tells me I’m standing on the spot where Marie Antoinette was beheaded…not to be morbid or in the Bay Area what the cliff house looked like in 1905.

    • Alex Bainbridge

      Hi Craig,
      Sounds like what you want is Google Field Trip (you don’t have to wait 10 years, in fact was launched, quietly, last year)

      Video of Glass / Field trip on this previous Tnooz post

      [I would all that, ha, although I love your idea, if you live in a country with more than a few hundred years of history, to be alerted by history all the time as you move around a location is quite a pain actually! There is too much of it!]

      Alex (UK)

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      10 years from now we’re probably all going to be so exhausted with the endless content creation, sharing, posting, commenting, liking, upvoting, tweeting and so forth that we’re either all going to be rocking ourselves sane in a corner – or collectively deciding to use technology as a tool rather than being the tool of technology.

      But of course, the holographic me standing in front of me from the future is telling me that I’m most likely wrong….:D


  9. m4rc0

    I think the money is right between the two alternatives. Prefessional content looks too much like an ad, so people tend not to trust it too much. Unedited UGC gets boring pretty quick.

    Capturing UGC and editing it is the best of both worlds. It’s not boring and it looks like something you could really do.

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      I’d also add that perhaps the best combination is these sorts of tools *in the hands of professionals.*

      As someone who cut his chops making travel films back in the heyday of YouTube, Current TV and Lonely Planet TV, I think these tools can provide some seriously compelling, just-the-right-amount-of-slick content that succeeds in promoting a brand.

      Just giving amateurs access to new tech can actually be harmful, as it encourages more of a self-centric approach to sharing the experience – rather than the focus on telling a captivating story that engages the viewer.



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