The increasingly popular social platform Snap (formerly known as Snapchat) has allowed consumers to share their experiences around the world in real-time. It also allows a great opportunity for hotel brands to use the platform to reach consumers in a different, more meaningful way. If done right.
A first-mover mindset is key to how innovation works in almost any sector of business, and the technologically enabled experiences of Snap give hotel and travel brands a unique opportunity to experiment and engage with consumers. User-generated content within digital groups is a great way of utilizing social media strategies and serves as a strategic vehicle to deliver content to loyal and emerging brand fans.
The approach of meeting your audience where they live is no longer simply about physical geolocation, but their digital network. Snap is often misunderstood by brands; what does it do? How can it be integrated into a marketing strategy with so many rapid changes? These are questions among many others that brands are tackling; the hotel and travel industry are no exception. The fear of experimenting or trying something different often paralyzes brands, and they run the risk of getting left behind while their forward-thinking competitors are jumping at new opportunities to be among the first movers to ride these trends to their peak before it is too late.
Over 60 million active daily users make Snap a powerful tool for brand engagement among the millennial age group (16 - 35 year olds). Snap claims it reaches at least 41% of the U.S. millennial population on “any given day.” The platform’s features allow for a string of unique opportunities to engage with consumers; including video and image sharing, Sponsored Geofilters and interactive advertising — dubbed “Lenses.” Gatorade’s Super Bowl Snap campaign earlier this year reported reaching deep engagement levels, with over 160 million impressions, 45 million more viewers than those who watched the big game on television.
Traveling and hotel stays go hand-in-hand with adventure and playtime. Snap is a very popular playtime tool for many adventurous millennials, who currently account for 70% of the 160 million Snap user base worldwide. Hotels should hatch a Snap strategy that engages their audience before, during and after stays. And this strategy should be unconventional, the same such nature of the social platform itself, designed for playtime among friends and social groups of similar interests. Give your brand permission to be seriously silly with features like Lenses. Get creative and drive longer engagement time with users.
Let’s face it, if your brand is not generating happiness and excitement, you are pretty much dead to millennials and modern consumers. So lifting your happiness profile should be a top priority. Vacation involves escaping to a different and pleasure-filled reality, especially in an age when people are faced with a constant barrage of negative societal pressures, often amplified online. So how can hotel and travel brands engage Snappers without looking like they are trying too hard to impress the cool kids? Start by understanding the features, audience behavior and what your brand is trying to accomplish.
Geofilters are cool art/design used as overlays on a user’s video or image on Snap, and your brand should already have multiple branded versions of these. They are the location-based feature of the platform, made available and targeted at consumers in the proximity of your property or desired activation geolocation. Use them for your events, seasonal offerings, hotels, guided excursions and more.
Probably the most immersive capable feature on Snap, Lenses are essential for deeper user engagement. Hotel brands can and should use this feature to showcase unique experiences at their location, making it visually immersive with clever animations and videos. Whether poolside fun and relaxation or ocean-facing room views, hotel and travel brands should creatively allow users to virtually insert themselves into the experience; this is how playtime starts. Lenses drive repeat brand engagement and users become co-creators, sharing your content to their friends and followers.
Create original video content within the context of your brand’s offering. Unlike Lenses and Sponsored Geofilters, you can post videos organically, both in real-time and uploaded using Snap’s Memories feature. It is important to have well-thought-out production while keeping it raw and visceral, in the same way your followers create their content. Tip: Bad-quality audio and lighting kill potentially great videos.
Sketch, doodle or just post a pic; whatever you do, make it relevant and aim for extraordinary composition and imagery to tell a story. Showcasing that awesome sunset sinking beyond the calm ocean waves, signaling the start to a fun night ahead at a resort or hotel. Your content should evoke emotions compelling enough to trigger users to share with their friends.
Seeing the Future with Spectacles
Snap recently introduced a product for adding more playtime to their users’ experience. Spectacles is a toy-like pair of eyeglasses with built-in cameras designed to capture video on the go, which is then added to the user’s Memories on Snap wirelessly. Consider Spectacles a camera created to complement Snap. There are myriad use cases for hotels and the travel industry. Imagine giving a group of guests a pair of Spectacles to capture their day or night of fun? From first person accounts of customers’ experience to a steady archive of user-generated content, the possibilities are limitless.
The future of content creation and distribution is very unpredictable, but you can stay abreast of the emerging tools and engage audiences where it makes sense for your brand. Move first and experiment often. Get to know the culture of the social tools you use just as much as the demographic they attract; Snap is all about playtime, which lends itself well to travel and hotel stays.