Lonely Planet Writer

New technology can tap your subconscious to reveal your dream holiday

You may already have a long bucket-list of dream trips, but new technology is hoping to tap into your subconscious to reveal where you really want to go.

A woman walks along a coastal path.
New technology will scan your face and plan your dream holiday. Image by Dougal Waters/Gett Images

UK travel company TUI – formerly Thomson – has created a prototype that uses emotionally intelligent technology to discover the true holiday desires of travellers. If you’re wondering how it works, the idea is fairly simple. Viewers watch a rapid series of moving images of different travel destinations and experiences. The technology measures their facial response and uses the data to create a “perfect holiday” based on their innate reaction to what they are viewing. The “Destination U” prototype is undergoing consumer testing with plans for public retail trials in “the near future.” In just a few years, the company says it could be using facial coding and emotion measurement to help their customers “choose a trip that matches their emotional needs.”

Abigail Devaney, from Staffordshire, tries out ‘Destination U’ Prototype, a facial coding pod developed by Realeyes to celebrate Thomson rebranding as TUI today, in London. The prototype is the first of its kind, using facial coding and emotional measurement technology to guide holidaymakers when selecting a travel destination. Image by Matt Crossick/PA Wire

The technology comes courtesy of the company Realeyes, and founder Mihkel Jaatma explained in a statement that 90% of human decision-making is done subconsciously. He said that while many companies try to find out what customers want through verbal or written questionnaires, which can be tedious, “emotion measurement technology captures and delivers unfiltered emotional responses in real-time, delving much deeper and detecting non-conscious signals to stimuli. People aren’t considering their responses, they are organically reacting, giving a far more intuitive and raw response.”

The company says that the prototype is now “well into testing,” with UK managing director Nick Longman explaining that the “Destination U prototype enables holidaymakers to intuitively unlock different travel possibilities and think about options they may not have considered before.” But while we’re all still finding our next destination the old-fashioned way, why not get inspired by some of the world’s most amazing and secret marvels.