By Awards Analyst, writer

August 17, 2022 | 4 min read

Tripadvisor won the ‘Most Effective Use of AI/Machine Learning’ at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveals the secrets of this successful project...

The challenge

The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi came to Tripadvisor with the objective of getting more travelers to consider the destination.

The biggest and most obvious challenge for the campaign was Covid-19. The team had to ensure the travel campaign was sensitive to the pandemic and used the client’s media spend effectively during a time when people globally were unable to travel.

The strategy

A data and insights-led content approach is a key part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s partnership with Tripadvisor. As the world's largest and most trusted travel platform, marketers look to Tripadvisor for guidance on their strategy. Tripadvisor’s advertising team uses its extensive first-party data and unique traveler sentiment to make decisions that are led by insights to ensure that they resonate with the client’s desired audience.

Abu Dhabi

The campaign

To help DCT Abu Dhabi increase consideration for its destination, the Tripadvisor advertising team created the world’s first virtual voice tour of a destination on Alexa. The immersive experience enables future travelers to explore the wonders of Abu Dhabi from the comfort of their homes, until such time as they are comfortable and able to travel to the destination.

Alexa customers can simply say ‘Alexa, explore Abu Dhabi’ and be taken on an immersive voice tour of the destination. The skill enables users to choose their own adventure, presented with various options detailing what they can explore in Abu Dhabi. Consumers using the Alexa skill can verbally request which path to take following prompts from the host.

The full experience spans several minutes and comprises a choice of top relaxation and nature spots, cultural wonders, popular hotels, and well-rated restaurants – all backed by reviews from the Tripadvisor platform. The themes and content within the experience were selected based on Tripadvisor data and traveler sentiment, to create a unique experience that is powered by how consumers are feeling and the trends we are seeing on site for ultimate relevance.

The results

Despite this unprecedented challenge, data from this campaign shows that the voice experience is performing extremely well. Thousands of customers have already engaged with the skill and on average users are spending over four minutes within the immersive experience, answering approximately seven prompts. Extrapolated, this results in over 1,300 hours of destination exposure for Abu Dhabi. Additionally, 97% of users say that they have not been to Abu Dhabi before and over two-thirds of those who engaged with the experience said that it has made them more likely to visit Abu Dhabi in the future.

The skill currently has a 5-star rating on the Alexa Skill Store and survey results suggest that users are thoroughly enjoying the experience. The Tripadvisor advertising team is also using these survey results to continually iterate and improve the experience based on user feedback, in conjunction with – the platform behind this engaging skill.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries 2021, which are now taking extension requests for 2022 entries. You can also find out which of The Drum's other awards programs are currently open for entry here.

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The world's largest travel guidance platform, helping hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers. With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions...

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