If Marriott Hotels are anything to go by, travel brands have much to gain from bringing Snapchat into their suite of social platforms.
In 2015, the multinational hotel chain became one of the first travel brands to sign up to Snapchat, enlisting the help of four influencers for its first campaign, which comprised the individuals using Marriott Hotel's channel to tell their stories.
The campaign garnered over 24 million views.
The trick, as Marriott see it, was to leave out any sales talk and let the influencers have free reign on the stories they want to tell.
That might be because 45% of Snapchat's 100 million active users are aged 18 to 24 years old – a demographic that won't likely convert to a lot of bookings.
Marriott understands that if a travel brand is to make Snapchat work, you've got to be in it for the long haul.
Snapchat is a great platform for fostering relationships with consumers early on, potentially building lifelong customers by showing a willingness to entertain and inform them – rather than just sell to them.
It has other strings to its bow from a content marketing perspective, too:
Its transience is what sets it apart
When Snapchat first came on the scene, we admit that we struggled to see the point in 'there one minute, gone the next' content. It took us a while to see the transient nature of its content – photos and videos on Snapchat are only available for 24 hours – as a strength.
However, now we get it. For brands, it means they can test potentially edgy content on the platform without fear of upsetting too many people. Is there any such thing as a 'Snapchat storm'?
Using the number of screenshot shares as a barometer, brands can then transfer successful Snapchat content to Instagram with added confidence that it will go on to be well shared.
It 'keeps things real'
Some might see the lack of filtering capability as a weakness of Snapchat, but we think it gives it another dimension: the ability to 'keep things real', which is a trend social media users are coming round to.
Look at Australian teenager Essena O'Neill who famously quit Instagram last year – where she had over 600,000 followers – describing it as "contrived perfection made to get attention".
O'Neill enjoyed plenty of support, with many in agreement that Instagram's heavily filtered world somewhat distorts reality. Snapchat, however, is raw and more realistic – if nothing else, it can offer your customers a different view of your business.
So there you have it. A brief argument why Snapchat should be on every travel firm's radar. The point being that it's not actually so different from Instagram and Twitter: patience is required, but lifelong customers are the reward if you play it right.