How Travel Brands can use Snapchat for Marketing and Customer Engagement

5 minute read

How Travel Brands can use Snapchat for Marketing

A gazillion people using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. every day proves that social media is not a fad. With the whole world using it, why should the travel industry miss out, as it’s impossible to not be impacted by the social media phenomenon. Direct mail, trade shows, website updates, Facebook and Twitter posts may have been the best steps to market your travel company according to you, but the world has moved on!

The humongous effect of social media marketing on the tourism industry cannot be denied. It should definitely be an essential part of any travel company’s marketing strategy. While, a lot of companies have been using tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there is another less-talked about tool that has great potential for businesses – Snapchat.

What is Snapchat?

If you are unfamiliar with this app, here is a brief: Snapchat is a mobile messaging application that is widely used to share text, videos, photos, drawings etc. The messages self-destruct within a couple of seconds. Snapchat Stories, on the other hand, is a compilation of videos or images which last for 24 hours and thus can be viewed for more than one time. Regardless of its brevity, Snapchat’s attributes have attracted many leisure as well as business travellers to share their travel stories on this platform. This is why travel brands have started experimenting with this app.

Although it is not as popular as Facebook or Twitter yet, it’s growing fast. Travel marketers should be mindful of it as it would help keep a track of consumer behaviour which in turn shapes future media consumption trends as well as marketing opportunities.

Reinventing travel marketing

With 120 million active users using this downloadable app, Snapchat is one of the fastest growing phone applications. The ‘laptop lifestyle’ almost forced the millennials to embrace the social platforms over the last couple of years. Thus, the young professionals are more interested in revamping the travel-agency business through creative ways which challenges the traditional marketing model.

A new way to communicate with your customers

‘Our Story’ launched in July 2014, allows the Snapchat users to submit the photos and videos within any geographically defined area. The curated snaps can then be created into a montage which can be viewed by everyone on Snapchat. Be it Holiday festivities or the World Cup opening ceremony, ‘Our Story’ has been used to share the moments. These slice-of-life shares over an audio visual medium definitely create more impact than theoretical explanations.

Content sharing through Snapchat comes much naturally to the travel industry owing to its visual nature. Thanks to the Our Story feature, the interactions between the app and the travel industry marketing are likely to increase. The geo-filtering ability of the app makes it relevant for mega-events.

It is easy to evaluate what kind of content is being accepted and what’s not on Snapchat and thus can be easily changed as and when required. Both B2C and B2B travel brands have started exploring Snapchat as a new means to target potential customers on social media.

Fast-paced content creation

Marketing campaigns for social media need to go through the rigmarole of approval and similar issues before publishing which is not the case with Snapchat. The content withers away in 24 hours which gives way to the scope for creating new content. As a travel agent, you can thus share multiple events, promotional offers etc every day while keeping your customers engaged. In fact, even if something wrongly gets posted on Snapchat unintentionally, it will get deleted in 24 hours, which is why creating promotional or exclusive content is by no means expensive. Moreover, given the brevity of the snaps and videos, you do not need to invest too much time in creating high quality content.

If you want to deliver “social first” content”, for instance, while showcasing a destination or an event, Snapchat is a very useful app.

What makes Snapchat tick?

Snapchat LondonThere are a few psychological factors behind the explosion of Snapchat. Curiosity is a strong factor that engages Snapchat users. The notifications in the app automatically arouse curiosity. In Snapchat, you have to get engaged in order to see the notification which eventually helps to build a relationship with the user. This comes from the fear of missing out as the snaps or videos are not available forever unlike the other social media options.

Knowing that something interesting or new might be missed if not checked in time, drives the users towards increased engagement on Snapchat. Operant conditioning which is basically a type of positive reinforcement creates a certain feeling of happiness or excitement and this makes them wait eagerly for the next notification.

6 smart tips for using Snapchat from TravelCarma:

  1. Give a brief sneak peak of your new products/services
  2. Reward travellers with coupons
  3. Include last minute offers for attracting more travellers
  4. Release exclusive videos like “behind the scenes”
  5. Time out your posts strategically
  6. Run interesting prizes or sweepstakes

The flipside

Travel marketers must evaluate before starting their promotion on Snapchat. It is not always necessary that all travel agencies will find this app an effective way to target consumers. As this app skews young audience, the marketing strategy of the travel agents should thus very specifically look into the overall digital strategy to create a meaningful online presence on Snapchat.

Many users still find Snapchat a new concept to follow and it makes it difficult for those users to find the brands on the same. Cross promotion, thus is an essential part of Snapchat handling if you need to create a strong audience base.

Moreover, as the app collects only the age, email and telephone contact number of the customer, the advertising targeting capabilities becomes restricted unlike the other social media platforms which gather much more information. Adding to this, the toolset for analyzing the limited data is not an intuitive interface. However, all this should improve in the future as the app is relatively new and is evolving. Remember Facebook in its early years?

Wrapping up

Snapchat is a comparatively young social platform which still entails some obstacles. Interestingly, the core audience is young, engaged and believes in global connectivity. Brands like Naritiv, Marriott, Disneyland etc. are very much active on the app and their stories matter.

Although not all travel brands are using it, they are monitoring Snapchat’s evolution as it could be a very promising platform for paid advertisement. With live events shown from the perspective of the tourists, yet not being a mass media, Snapchat is sure to influence the travel marketing and travel agency trends in near future.

If you have young travel customers, they are likely to be on Snapchat. And if you target Millennials, Snapchat is definitely worth a shot!

TravelCarma-LogoTravelCarma is an experienced Travel Technology brand powering 200+ Travel Companies worldwide with B2C/B2B Online Reservation Systems, Back-Office, Mid-Office and Access to Global Inventory. Visit our website or get in touch with us on to find out how we can help your travel business. 

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2 Responses

  1. I recently wrote an article related to the use of SnapChat for the travel industry. I personally think it’s a really creative way to keep up with customers and show them like the ‘behind the scenes’ of the brand. I just think that companies should carefully analyze their target market to decide weather or not invest in this social media as it might not generate immediate bookings. Thanks for the article, it’s interesting to read other ideas and points of view.

  1. […] It’s still a new concept to a lot of consumers as well, especially older ones. […]

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