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MATKA fair digitalizing the event industry

AR, or Augmented Reality, is a permanent part of the visitors’ experience at Messukeskus Helsinki.

Augmented Reality, or AR, for events was for the first time introduced to the general public at the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair and the new 24/7 online store sold out the very first Flash Deal trips in minutes. All in all the event and the experiences it offers were taken to a totally new level with new technology and ground breaking digital solutions.  This is year the MATKA fair attracted 71,000 visitors and presented 920 exhibitors from 86 countries.

AR, or Augmented Reality, is a permanent part of the visitors’ experience at Messukeskus Helsinki. This AR application is the first in the world surrounding visitors with a totally new reality. Messukeskus Helsinki is a pioneer in utilising this type of technology in events, also on an international scale.

The AR application of Messukeskus has interested the media both in Finland and abroad. It was tested by several hundred visitors who gave positive feedback and also over a hundred visitors participated in the AR treasure hunt where the main price was flight tickets. The partners in the AR project were Olympia Air Travel Ltd. and Qatar Airways.

"We believe that AR is the future, also in travelling and promoting different destinations. Olympia Air Travel Ltd. has been a pioneer in many things so it was only natural for us to tackle this challenge. We learned a lot and noticed that people on our stand were thrilled about AR," states Marketing Manager Sari Juurinen from Olympia Air Travel Ltd.

AR combines virtual images and objects seamlessly in to a real life environment. A smart phone or a tablet is needed to experience AR. At this stage it can only be used with Apple mobile phones and iPads, soon also with Android devices.

"Both visitors and exhibitors will get entirely new services and experiences with the help of AR. It can be used for locating interesting exhibitors, restaurants, programme stages or a friend who is also at the fair. AR introduces a true wow factor and entertains in an entirely new way," says Maria Mroue, Director of Marketing and Communications at Messukeskus Helsinki.

Events without time limits and outside physical buildings
Messukeskus Helsinki brings special offers from its events to its 24/7 online store both before and after the events. This gives also those visitors who cannot attend the event the opportunity to benefit from special deals. The Flash Deal special offers were sold out within minutes at the MATKA fair. 

"This year we didn’t sell trips at the fair but instead focused on using other channels to make sales. All special deals were offered online so Flash Deals were a natural way to boost sales. The online store 24/7 of Messukeskus Helsinki enabled us to handpick a limited amount of special deals, something we could not have done as successfully by using our own systems," explains Digital Marketing Manager Laura Ruotsalainen from Apollo Travel Group.

"Our aim is to support the success of our customers with new digital solutions. It was great to see how the first Flash Deals of were sold out on our 24/7 online store in minutes," adds Mroue.

Within the past year Messukeskus Helsinki has launched several new digital services for its customers. These include the Messukeskus application, the entirely renewed online service and B2B customer service portal The future projects also include bringing artificial intelligence as a part of the experience.

General & Editorial Team Manager - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Panos is the General & Editorial Team Manager for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Among others he surervises the editors team and takes care of every day functions. His passion is marketing and especially online marketing and often attends online travel conferences.