Have Snapchat Will Travel, Who Knew?

When you think of traveling, you think of capturing your adventures and experiences in photos and movies — that which can be shared time and time again with friends and loved ones. When you think of Snapchatting, you think of ephemeral messaging and sexting - that which can hit a ‘beat’ with a private recipient for 10 seconds only and is not for public consumption.

So, it becomes somewhat of oxymoron to ever think there might be a symbiotic relationship between the two activities.

What would J.W. Marriott have done. . .

Yet, travel companies are now thinking differently. Having reassessed Snapchat’s functionality, Marriott just signed a content deal with Snapchat star and filmmaker, Casey Neistat. The objective is to target and build loyalty with the travel world's next generation - the Millennials - who are now in the position of making travel decisions for business and pleasure.

With a campaign kick-off called “Travel Brilliantly,” the Marriott hotel brand that J.W. Marriott first built out of root beer stand back in 1927 in Washington, D.C. is the first hotel chain to develop interactive stories on Snapchat.

Through the stories feature on the app, users create daily compilations of their short videos or photo posts that live on the platform for just 24 hours. However thereafter, Marriott will be able to package the videos for other websites and apps, to essentially repurpose the content in new ways.

Collaborating with Narativ, a tech startup that launched out of the Disney Accelerator program, the goal of this initiative is to develop and produce interactive travel stories on Snapchat, with several influencers on the platform, including Neistat.

“Collaborating with Marriott Hotels represents a new step forward in programming on this platform,” said Naritiv CEO Daniel Altmann. “Users show their lives and tell their stories through Snapchat in a way social media did in its earlier days: candidly and spontaneously, yet serially.

“Each day tells a story. Snapchat thoroughly captures users’ attention for that moment they look at the Snaps and then capJ.W. MarriottJ.W. Marriottture and share them. People follow and connect with creators we work with in a special way, and we’re excited for them to be engaging Marriott’s audience in a new way as well,” adds Altman.

As innovative as J.W. Marriott was in his day in transitioning a fast food operation into a mega-international hotel chain, I’m sure if he around today, he would have given his stamp of approval to this innovative marketing approach.

Disney, also snap-happy. . .

Marriott might have been one of the first travel companies to connect the dots in using Snapchat for promotional purposes, but they are not alone.

One of the other ways brands are experimenting with photo messaging start-up is by driving engagement. For example, recently Disneyland featured a "Story Campaign" that focused on its Halloween decorations and asked its followers to send in snaps focused on Halloween. The submissions were curated into a new Story for Disneyland the next day, and were posted to their Facebook wall.

Snapping the attention of Millenials

Now that Generation Y and Z have actively taken key roles in the workforce and are one of the main drivers of consumer preferences globally, it was a natural for Snapchat to become one of their go-to platforms. The app is quick, easy and accessible with a couple of clicks on one’s mobile phone - just the right set of triggers to engage with the young who expect and even demand this type of expediency.

They are watching live events from the perspective of citizen journalists capturing activity in real-time. These psychographic touchpoints are how travel brands are able to engage with them effectively - and build customer loyalty over time as they age - somthing a maturing hotel company requires, if they are to keep current and relevant with today's traveling public.