3 -min. read

It’s time to talk about Snapchat. Whether you like it or not, what started out as a sexting photo and video sharing app for teens and college students has now evolved into a full-blown media platform. Case in point: earlier this week Vanity Fair unveiled its Hollywood issue on SnapChat, complete with articles and behind-the-scenes video. People, BuzzFeed, Vice, Cosmopolitan and Daily Mail are also offering content on Snapchat.

Here are some other mind-blowing (and not so mind-blowing) stats about Snapchat:

That millennials have glommed onto Snapchat and its 24-hour My Story feeds, funny selfie filters, location-based stickers, and “decorate-your-own photo” features is not surprising, but the amount of views that Snapchat is getting is staggering. And many Snapchat users can quickly testify that the app, which also has a chat function (although messages disappear as soon as they are read), can be insanely addictive, particularly amongst those already prone to navel-gazing.

Think about it this way: where people once spent their time figuring out which Instagram filter was most flattering, they now probably spend more time trying out the different selfie filters on Snapchat and then adding appropriate captions, emojis and squiggles. Have no clue what we just said? Then read the WSJ’s recent tutorial on Snapchat. (Swiping right on your own photos will open up a world of wonders for you!)

So now that we’ve done a little catch-up on Snapchat, what does this mean for hotels? Well, some hotels have already dabbled in Snapchat. Marriott Hotels was the first big brand to utilize Snapchat in 2014, hiring several influencers to take over the Marriott Snapchat feed and promote Marriott on their own feeds. Last fall, W Hotels revealed their special “Wish You Were Here” filters, available at 24 U.S. W Hotels as well as W London and W Montreal, which can be overlaid over the photos and videos taken while at the W. Around the same time, Hyatt Regency hotels also introduced their own sponsored filters at their U.S. and Canadian hotels.

But other than that, hotels and Snapchat haven’t actually hit it off. And it’s understandable. There is a cost to creating filters or hiring influencers to run a hotel’s Snapchat feed, and there’s no real way to measure the return on that investment. How can you tell if a person who watches a Snapchat story was inspired by that story to book a hotel room? But everyone knows that attribution, in the marketing and advertising sense, has become so muddled in recent years, especially in the mobile realm. So thinking about using Snapchat to get someone to book a room is an already outdated way of thinking.

With the use of Snapchat amongst millennials right now and its inevitable growth, hotels will need to seriously consider their presence on Snapchat at some point, especially if their brand is meant for millennials (which so many are nowadays.) The best, and easiest way to manage, would be sponsored filters. Or have an already social-media savvy hotel employee man the feed every so often. Hotels can also look to airlines like American Airlines and WOW Air, which have done a great job with their feeds around big events, such as new route launches and giveaways. (TravelTripper has some other good suggestions on how hotels could utilize Snapchat.)

So….now that you’ve had some time to learn/think about this, add you soon on Snapchat?

[Photo: Snapchat]


Juliana Shallcross
A self-confessed hotel addict, Juliana Shallcross has been reporting on hotels around the world for more than a decade. She was previously the managing editor A good portion of her job involves sleeping in new hotels, obsessing over technology and keeping tabs on the ever-changing hospitality landscape. She's based in Los Angeles.

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