The travel industry already dominates the digital domain in the form of travel blogs, online booking sites, countless online magazines, an undeniable presence on social media, and the list goes on and on. These travel mediums bring viewers the world at their fingertips, and right now the biggest trend in the travel digital domain is documenting and experiencing the world via Snapchat.
What is the Snapchat and Travel Connection?
When WOW Air decided to advertise the summer job of a lifetime with their Snaptravelers position, it was evident that this exploding social platform was a force to be reckoned with and was about to hit the travel industry in a big way. Naturally, we wanted to look a little closer at what exactly Snapchat has to offer to the travel industry.
There are a few travel writers who are already making a name for themselves in the travel Snapchat arena, and it seems that all have a high Snapchat engagement for the same reason – the “real” factor. Snapchat, which functions as a messaging system in which messages disappear after the allotted time, employs a very in-the-moment, real-time factor that other social sites do not. Furthermore, unlike other photo sharing platforms that are geared towards perfection, Snapchat is based on unfiltered documentation.
Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, although having very noticeable differences from each other, are both mostly about sharing polished, perfect pictures – the types of photos that make people want to read travel blogs in the first place. Usually these are well-filtered and expertly posed photos making viewers long to see the dreamy destinations that they portray for themselves. These do indeed have their place and certainly require tact and artfulness. Snapchat, on the other hand, is more for documenting the type of moment a car splashes you when driving over a puddle about five seconds after that perfect Instagram photo was taken. It documents the real, unfiltered moments of travel bloggers’ lives, which demystifies them and their narratives. Snapchat is a down-to-earth documentation of the moments that aren’t usually caught by the camera, and it is about high entertainment value as opposed to pretty pictures.
The Entertainment and Engagement Factor
This entertainment value is clear in the “editing” features. Snaps are not extensively editable the way that photos on other photo sharing networks are. You need to use the Snapchat camera – right then and there – and then add playful filters or additional content, like emojis or self-drawn pictures with your finger over the photo. You are also allowed to type up to 35 characters of text, but that’s it. All of the editing features are meant to only add entertainment value to the photo, not doctor the photo itself. This “real” element offers a certain aspect of honesty and a behind-the-scenes approach to documenting travel that is hard to resist. A little like a millennials version of reality TV, there is a kind of raw and honest communication going on with Snapchat that is incredibly engaging, which results in large and very active communities being built around Snapchat stars.
How large you ask? Well, not to overwhelm you with numbers, but the Snapchat statistics are pretty impressive. With over 100 million active daily users and approximately 500 million photo and video views per day, the reach is incredibly wide. Furthermore, these users are engaged – they have to physically touch content to view it; if they remove their finger from the screen, the Snap disappears – unlike Facebook that counts videos that begin playing automatically as a view if it plays for a total of 3 seconds. Furthermore, Snapchat users tend to spend an average of 30 minutes a day on the app, which speaks volumes for the platform’s engagement factor. In the end, social media is about making yourself present to your audience, and Snapchat gives you a very real presence for that audience to identify and connect with.
It seems that the Snapchat platform and travel industry work beautifully hand in hand, offering up the world on a very different kind of platter. Expect to see more aspects of the travel industry Snapped as time goes on.