Is Snapchat – the millennial-focused social app – right for timeshare resorts?
At the end of 2016, Snapchat reported 161 million active daily users—most visiting 18 times a day on average. With its high engagement rate and content that vanishes in 24 hours, driving frequent updates, the app has the potential to be a powerful platform for travel brands. However, given that only 2 percent of Snapchat users are over the age of 55, whereas a significant number of timeshare owners fit into that demographic, should resorts focus on the app?
“Although timeshare resorts’ main demographic is older than the millennial generation, there is potential for Snapchat to reach [the resorts’] prime demographic, as well as a new customer base in the process,” says Tom Jauncey, cofounder of social media agency Beautiful Destinations. As social media use increases among all age groups, the app will likely pick up users, especially among older customers. When Facebook was established in 2004 its user base was composed of college students. Ten years later, Pew Research found that 56 percent of internet users that were 65 and older used Facebook. In addition, a Nielsen report released in January of this year revealed that Generation X (ages 35 to 49) used social media an hour more per week than millennials. Considering ARDA International Foundation’s 2016 Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report determined that 41 percent of timeshare owners are between the ages of 35 and 54, social media use by Generation X is something to watch closely.
Snapchat’s greatest strength is story making, Jauncey says. “Snapchat allows the travel industry to dive deeper into storytelling and highlight the interesting people, places and things that make guests come back time and time again.” The Story feature, which composes pictures and videos into a continuous narrative, can yield a richer experience than a single post on Facebook or Instagram. The Instagram Stories feature similarly allows users to upload content that expires in 24 hours, but “Snapchat shouldn’t be discounted, as it caters to a very important and large demographic,” says Gabrielle Blitz Rosen, CEO of Townhouse Digital. Since Instagram Stories launched last August, Snapchat has continued to grow domestically and globally, with 48 percent growth from Q3 to Q4 2016. Instagram Stories has a smaller but not insignificant 100 million daily active users and may also be an option for resorts that have amassed a large following on the app.
Geofilters, a logo or illustration that lays over a post based on user location, also make Snapchat unique and can be purchased by a resort for as little as $35. These can help boost guest engagement and resort visibility. Blitz Rosen recommends loaning guests Snapchat Spectacles, sunglasses that record short videos. “Guests can snap as they’re out and enjoying their travels, and of course mention the resort on social media.” Spectacles cost $130 and work only with the app. Whether using video sunglasses or not, Jauncey recommends posting on Snapchat daily, but notes the value of quality over quantity. “Timeshare resorts should showcase beautiful destinations and property content that makes a consumer wish they were in that very moment.”
Image credit: iStockphoto