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Your Next Vacation Is Written on Your Face

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Dustin White wears eye-tracking glasses and sits in front of a camera that records facial expressions as he shops on Vrbos vacation rental site with a phone.

Travel companies are getting smarter about researching what people like.

Credit: Julia Robinson/The Wall Street Journal

Travel companies are starting to use sophisticated technology to help understand what people like.

For example, home-rental company Vrbo uses eye-tracking software with facial recognition emotion detection to measure customers' reactions to each element displayed on its site.

Parent company Expedia Group uses five of the seven emotions that facial recognition systems track: joy, anger, surprise, sadness, and disgust. The company hopes the other two (contempt and fear) don't really factor into travel decisions.

The systems detect changes in emotion state and tells the researchers what the customer was looking at when the emotion changed.

The reactions shoppers have to different elements on the screen can sway bookings.

Vrbo found that booking vacations homes is often a group effort, so the company created a tool called Trip Board to make discussion about the different aspects of particular properties easier.

From The Wall Street Journal
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