08 Oct 2018

easyJet connects Instagram images with booking engine

easyJet has added an extension to its app that lets would-be travelers find and book destinations based on pictures shared on Instagram.

 The new Look & Book feature, an extension to the airline’s iOS app,  lets users clip images from Instagram and upload them directly to the booking engine on their mobile phone. The system searches the Instagram picture to match the destination, suggests travel dates, quotes fares and lets users complete their booking with just a few swipes of their thumbs.

The Look & Book tool was developed by the airline’s creative agency VCCP working with Travelport Digital. It takes advantage of Instagram’s geo-tagging feature and Microsoft Azure APIs to recognize locations and match them to easyJet destinations, then pre-populates the booking fields in the app.

 Daniel Young, easyJet’s head of digital experience told Campaign that the tool was inspired by a similar feature introduced by retailer Asos last year which let users match clothing items from its catalogue to photos. Young added:

 “We were also aware of what was going on in Instagram – that aspirational feel that when you see a celebrity or a friend doing something fun and wanting to know where they are. But what was happening was you find the photo, try and work out where it is, go into Google and find the nearest airport, then go to an airline’s website. We saw an opportunity to close that gap into a seamless process.”

 The airline has been engaging with its nearly 260,000 “generation easyJet” followers on Instagram through a number of campaigns including the recent “Show us Europe through your eyes” photo competition which gives participants a chance to win a free holiday when they submit images from the window seat. The airline also posts a selection of images sent to them by customers with a tag of their Instagram handle and a personalized ‘thank you’ graphic added to the image. The shots selected for recognition are creative, often artistic and sometimes quirky.

 But easyJet’s Look&Book is next-level thinking. It sets up a platform with wings that can rise above a social media curiosity to a useful and meaningful alternative to text-based flight search. It’s a feature other airlines may want to emulate. Rival Ryanair, which has 62,000 more followers on Instagram and three digital labs, may well be wondering why they didn’t think of it first. One might even have expected Google Flights to deliver a tool this useful.

Now that it exists, we suspect it will be flattered by imitation.

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