Place-based messaging could give travel marketers a bleeding edge advantage
There’s a new place-based messaging app in town, and it could be the bleeding edge that certain brave travel marketers embrace.
Flyby Media allows users to send messages to each other using real-world objects as triggers. The company’s taglines are “Start Messaging in Real Life” and “Activate Your Real Life Objects,” highlighting just how the service is positioning itself as the arbiter of multimedia tagged to physical objects.
The service underscores the potential power of Google’s Project Tango, which recently opened up vast new possibilities for using 3D sensors and visual imaging for the next generation of phones.
Interestingly, the app is currently only available on iPhone 5 and 5s, with Samsung Galaxy S5 support coming soon. These are the only phones that currently support the framerates required to leverage the real-time imaging.
Flyby is one of the first consumer application to leverage this imaging tech, and is idling on a $10 million runway.
While Flyby is not the first in this space – an app called Drop was released late last year and their is the credential-heavy Findery – the company might be at the right place/right time with the current techology and increased messaging interest from both investors and consumers.
The app itself is still a work-in-progress, as the company is attempting to build a user base before pushing it out to partners. This may work, although it seems that having a steady stable of partners publishing content would entice users to download while also offering a crash course in this entirely new way of communicating and consuming.
For travel marketers, the use cases are still quite compelling for those looking for an added edge over competitors in the travel space.
One only has to look at the Tnooz coverage of VisitCalifornia to understand the value of bringing together slightly different takes on familiar marketing tropes. In this particular case, DMCs and CVBs could create their own walking guides to their locations using place as a trigger for messages from local celebrities, academics and even other travelers. By using the place as the marker for the media, the app creates a new way to experience place.
Or imagine being able to take a shot of a location and seeing video of what it used to look like, taking a shot of a dish in a restaurant to see multimedia reviews, or perhaps even taking a shot of an item in a museum to see a message from the curator explaining the history. It would eliminate the upfront technology burden from the organization, and allow travelers to use the device they are already most comfortable with: their smartphone.
There’s also some potentially explosive engagement related to sports tourism – imagine taking a shot of a jersey and seeing a message from the star, or snapping a turn in Monte Carlo and seeing messages related to all the past content from the Grand Prix.
Opening up place-based messaging would really change the consumption of media in the travel space.
The question here is: do consumers care and which service will gain the the most traction? The success of any marketing attempt in this new space is tied to having the app already installed and understood by consumer, and so only time – or an intrepid marketer – will push this technology forward.
Nick Vivion is a writer and strategist. He was a Tnooz reporter and global events lead between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America, at Zomato.