In 2016, almost half of Airbnb consumers were reported to be between the ages of 18 and 34. In contrast, only 28% of hotel guests who booked with Marriott online were millennials.
So, with younger generations embracing the sharing economy, Marriott has decided to do something about it by turning to every millennial’s sort-of-favourite app – Snapchat.
What’s it all about? Here’s a run-down of the campaign.
Using the power of influencers
Instead of a standard Snapchat ad, which is often just a 10 second clip, Marriott has created three-minute long ‘Snapisodes’ as they’re (annoyingly) calling them, exclusively for the platform.
Created to promote Marriott Rewards, the four ads feature different social media influencers exploring various locations around the world.
The first, which has just been released, sees Jen Levinson explore Berlin – specifically the city’s food scene. Others will focus on locations like New York and Seoul.
Designed to be both authentic and relatable, the ads involve influencers speaking directly to camera, much like an elongated Snapchat story. With Marriott banking on the appeal of influencers, the question is – will young users be drawn in or put off by the brand-heavy content?
Despite being peppered with nods to how great the Marriott Rewards scheme is, including references to perks like rooms upgrades and late checkout, the content is interesting enough to balance out any overriding sense of brand promotion. The documentary or ‘vlogging’ style means it’s easy to get caught up in the influencer’s experience of the wider location instead of just the hotel.
What’s more, with a personal insight into what it’s like to experience a place, the ads are bound to appeal to travel enthusiasts – if not more so than users watching simply because of influencer involvement.
For Marriott, this is a win-win, as it means Snapchat users of all ages are likely to engage with the ads – not just teens.
— Marriott Rewards (@MarriottRewards) March 30, 2017
The benefits for Snapchat
While large media companies like NBC and Disney have created episodic content for Snapchat, Marriott is one of the most high-profile brands to create exclusive episodic ads, and of course pay for the privilege – which is undeniably great news for the platform.
Another victory for Snapchat is Marriott’s promotion of Snapchat spectacles, with part of the ads themselves being filmed with the video-camera sunglasses.
Marriott’s focus on millennials
This is not the first example of Marriott focusing on millennial consumers, but certainly signals a much more laser-focused approach to targeting them.
Previously, Marriott has aimed to target a younger demographic through storytelling, realising that this demographic values authentic travel experiences as well as a connection to the local community.
With the launch of Moxy, a boutique hotel ‘with the heart of a hostel’ – Marriott aimed to offer the opposite of the large corporate hotel. To promote the brand, it created a web series (also featuring social influencers) to introduce its features.
With the decision to launch its new campaign solely on Snapchat, it certainly seems like Marriott is banking on the platform’s popularity to help engage with young consumers. Reportedly reaching 41% of all 18 to 34 year olds in the US daily (according to a 2016 Nielsen study) – plus the addition of influencers – it’s a bold move to win back a younger demographic from the likes of Airbnb.
For more on influencer marketing, check out Econsultancy’s Rise of Influencers report.