Enhance your hotel’s brand through Snapchat

As Snapchat grows its partnerships with other social media giants (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), its relevance to businesses – both small and large – increases. The Snapchat “craze,” has expanded far beyond its original purpose: from fun-loving, silly interactions between friends, into a medium for corporations, presidential candidates, and celebrities to reach out to their followers or consumers. Snapchat maintains its goofy persona, while adjusting to benefit users of all shapes and sizes. This bridges a gap between business and consumer, affording you, the hotelier, an opportunity to expand your reach on a fun, personal level.

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Let’s start from the beginning: what is Snapchat?

Launched in 2011, Snapchat is an instant image- and media-based application for iOS and Android devices. The app began with “instantly deleted” images or “snaps.” Users would take a photo or snap within the app, then send to friends who also used the app to view for a set number of seconds. After viewing the snap, it was “deleted” and could not be viewed again.

Since 2011, the app has continually updated and added features to meet its ever-growing audience including adding Geofilters, videos, chat, video chat, lenses, Memories, Discover, and “My Story.” Today, the international app has around 100 million users who daily send approximately 9,000 snaps per second! Are you already imagining the possibilities?

Snapchat and hotels: the low down

So, we understand Snapchat’s popularity with various industries and user groups, but how do you apply this to your hotel? For starters, take advantage of Snapchat videos and “My Story” by capturing daily life and events at your hotel. As you take the snaps, you can automatically add them to your Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter accounts providing your followers an inside look at how their stay with you would go. To widen your reach beyond existing followers, you can use Snapchat’s Geofilters.

What the heck is a Geofilter?

To understand Geofilters, you have to understand a filter. A Snapchat filter is a coloring or drawing you use to improve your snap. Filters range from transforming a color snap to black-and-white, to showing your current speed in mph over your snap, to a psychedelic overlay.

Geofilters take filters one step further. These are geographical filters whose availability is determined by your geographical location. There are two types of Geofilters currently available: Community and On-Demand. Community Geofilters are designed by local designers for their area landmarks, universities, etc. and do not include any branding or logos. On-Demand Geofilters are the ones we care about. These are bought and created by a business, brand, or user and includes branding elements.

Okay, how does this expand my visibility?

Once you buy and create your On-Demand Geofilter, it appears as a filter option for any Snapchat users within your area. The W Hotels were the first to implement a Geofilter campaign on Snapchat and proved its effectiveness. Their campaign featured filters with humorous takes on the traditional travel postcards including, “you wish you were here” and “current situation.” Guests of the hotel then used these filters over their snaps, which simultaneously promoted their stay at the W.

wish you were here

Like The W, you can expand your brand awareness by using Geofilters that are appealing to your guests and including your branding within the filter. You could further your efforts through special filters for festivals or happenings in your city or offer them to guests having their wedding or event at your hotel. The possibilities to expand your reputation in a fun, subtle, and creative way via Snapchat are truly limitless.

Are you ready to get started?

Before creating a Geofilter, you need to download the app and create your Snapchat account for business, which can be done here. Creating Geofilters does require some design knowledge and you’ll need either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Snapchat support provides detailed steps for creating Geofilters here.

A few things to keep in mind when working with Snapchat:

  • Keep it short and sweet. While Snapchat allows videos up to 10 seconds, no one wants those crowding their feed. Try and keep your snaps short and to the point.
  • Subtlety is key. In your Geofilters, remember you want them to be appealing to use while promoting your brand. Sometimes this means keeping your branding as a subtle addition to the greater filter.
  • Follow the rules. Avoid getting on Snapchat’s bad-side by following their rules for business users, brand guidelines, and promotion within the app.
  • Stay goofy and fun. At the end of the day, Snapchat is meant to be fun. Don’t take your brand too seriously when working with Snapchat. Highlight the fun, funky aspects of your business in addition to the serious-side.

Happy Snapchatting!

Research Assistant: Jörg Schnathmeier

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