While travel brands have been using social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram for a while now with great success, this week we’re taking a closer look at Snapchat to see what opportunities it presents for travel brands.
Launched back in 2011, Snapchat is hardly the new kid on the social media block – it is however one of the fastest growing platforms, particularly amongst 18–24 and 25–34 year olds. Racking up over 100 million active users and seven billion daily video views, Snapchat is defining itself as a growing platform and one that travel brands should definitely keep an eye on; especially those looking to target millennials.
According to a report by SKIFT, 45% of Snapchat’s users are aged 18 to 24 years old. Meanwhile, 23% of Instagram’s users and 18% of Facebook users’ are 18 to 24 years old. Making Snapchat an attractive platform for travel brands looking to reach younger travellers. Although the audience is currently within the younger demographic, that doesn’t mean that Snapchat isn’t a great platform for older travellers too. As the platform continues to evolve, so does its user base and it is growing in popularity with 25-34 year olds and those 25-54 years old. When it comes to social media platforms, younger audiences tend to be early adopters with older audiences following shortly after.
Many fashion and media brands use Snapchat to advertise to consumers, so far only a handful of travel brands have adopted the platform as part of their digital marketing strategy – so just what are the opportunities for travel brands?
Snapchat: The Pro’s and Con’s for Travel Brands
On the surface, Snapchat may not seem like the greatest fit for travel brands mainly due to the fact that content is only available for a short period of time before it disappears altogether; never to be seen again. While at first this may seem like one of the biggest downfalls of the platform, it could actually be one of the main benefits. Snapchats emphasis on visual content and immediacy, teamed with their ‘Our Story’ feature and geo filtering abilities has the potential to deliver great results for travel brands.
It is for this reason the travel brands are now beginning to dip their toes and build their presence on the mobile application. Most notably being Marriott Hotels, who ran a three-month long campaign earlier this year – but more about that a bit later.
Snapchat is a unique platform that enables travel brands to share their content in creative ways and users, in particular millennials, seem to prefer this less staged approach to marketing. Few topics inspire people like travel and Snapchat gives travel brands the opportunity to share creative content, for example take travellers behind the scenes at local events, create desire in the consumer by sharing awe-inspiring skylines, local attractions and showcase the experiences unique to your destination or hotel.
Using Snapchat stories, users feel like they are a part of something, that they are choosing to be a part of rather than being marketed to. Use Snapchat stories to tell the story of your destination or hotel and ask visitors to share their experiences by sharing their Snaps. On the downside, for some people Snapchat is still a bit of a mystery and is a concept that is not easily understood outside of the millennial market.
We’ve talked about millennials and how they make up an impressive 45% of Snapchat users, which is great for travel brands targeting 18-24 year olds. But what about the more mature traveller? While Snapchat users currently fall within a younger demographic, there is potential for this to change in the future with older users joining the platform. According to Snapchat, 26% of their users are aged between 25-34 and 14% are 35+. As the Platform grows in popularity, we can expect to see a wider distribution of ages amongst users, much like we did with Facebook.
What are the Opportunities for Travel Brands?
Snapchat as an advertising platform could provide some great opportunities for travel brands and some travel brands are already seeing great results. Take Marriott Hotels for example, at the beginning of 2016 Marriott ran a three-month campaign to drive engagement and raise awareness.
The campaign saw the travel brand team up with four influencers, including YouTube vlogger and Beme co- founder, Casey Neistat. Marriott handed over the reigns of their account to the influencers, each one visiting different cities. At the end of the campaign, a winning influencer/city was chosen. The goal was not to connect users to room bookings, but rather to promote the perks that come along with the Marriott experience in each city.
The unique platform has many great features that could provide great opportunities for travel brands looking for different ways to advertise and engage, including:
- Stories – add videos and images to your story for all your followers to see, stories can be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period. Stories can also be shared with the user’s friends.
- Geo filters– created by Snapchat, members of the Snapchat community and by brands. Geo filters can be added to Snaps and Stories by users. See how W Hotels used this feature.
Snapchat is great for user-generated content. Travel brands could use Snapchat to encourage their customers to share snaps, either photos or videos of their travel experiences. For example, you can ask customers to create a day in the life of their travels story, which takes followers on the journey of a fellow traveller and peer.
Compared to other social media platforms, Snapchat is, as of writing this, considerably more expensive for brands to advertise, which is probably one of the main reasons why businesses only make up 1% of Snapchat users. While the extra expense could be a deal breaker for some brands, travel brands that adopt Snapchat early could benefit from less marketing noise and a more engaged audience. This could set travel brands apart from their competitors.
In addition to the high advertising costs, there are higher costs involved with developing creative vertical content. Whilst the content does not necessarily need to be a top quality production, Snapchat does require an investment of time to keep the channel active, on topic, relevant and engaging. Travel brands using Snapchat are creating ‘in the moment’ experiences which need to be created in the moment and can’t be scheduled in advance. Meaning that the cost of developing creatives can be somewhat higher compared to other social media platforms.
Whether Snapchat is the platform for your travel brand will really come down to two things at the present time, the age of your audience and the size of your wallet! Although as we mentioned earlier in the article, the age of Snapchat users is already growing amongst 25-34 year olds and those 35+. As the platform continues to grow and develop it is expected that its user base will do so too and advertising costs are likely to drop.
Here at Digital Dialog our view is that it is certainly a platform to keep an eye on and one that is growing and evolving. In the last few weeks it was announced that Snapchat has partnered with Nielsen to offer deeper audience metrics in the UK, meaning that advertisers will have greater insight into the success of their campaigns; which is expected to drive a boost in advertising spend.
If you would like to discuss social media marketing for your travel brand or how we can help with your digital marketing, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.