Editor’s Note: Amanda Moore, senior director, social and digital marketing, loyalty at Marriott, will be speaking at Masters of Brand Activation, June 13 in NYC. Register today!
When Amanda Moore, senior director, social and digital marketing, loyalty at Marriott, and her team looked for a fresh social platform to reach the next generation of guests with content that would encourage membership in its rewards program, Snapchat held real promise.
Last week, the brand introduced a four-part series on the mobile app. The series, “Six Days, Seven Nights,” was developed specifically for Snapchat, where there are more than 400 million Snaps each day.
Each three-minute “snapisode” is partially filmed using Snapchat Spectacles to enable viewers to get close up looks at new destinations, cultures, communities and Marriott properties. A top social media influencer moderates each unscripted snapisode and introduces the viewer to the episode.
For example, in the first episode Jen Levinson, a notoriously picky eater, sets out to broaden her palate and discovers the best food Berlin offers, from currywurst to frog legs. In addition to Levinson, Tom Jauncey of Beautiful Destinations, Diipa Khosla and Sara Hopkins take viewers both on and off Marriott properties in Berlin, Seoul, Dubai and New York City.
Moore talks with Chief Marketer about why she chose Snapchat, the goals and metrics for the campaign, and what the early results look like.
CM: Why Snapchat?
MOORE: Snapchat seemed like a good fit to reach a new generation of travelers. Loyalty is a relationship and we felt that Snapchat was a great channel for us to introduce Marriott Rewards to this new audience and build a relationship with them.
CM: How do you determine which social channel is best for the specific objective?
MOORE: When we look at our social media ecosystem overall for Marriott Rewards, we identify the role of each channel and we tailor that role and strategy for that channel. We create content by channel and audience. When you look at our presence across social—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat—you won’t see the same content going out across the multitude of channels.
CM: What specifics about Snapchat were attractive?
MOORE: With any new channel we do our fair share of research and audience insights and really try to dig in and understand usage and whether there is there an opportunity. We felt that with this generation and with this audience there is an opportunity as we look to expand our loyalty programs across the board with this new audience.
CM: Is acquisition the ultimate goal of the snapisodes?
MOORE: Acquisition isn’t a goal. It’s a cherry on top. We are tailoring the content to build awareness of the Marriott loyalty program with this audience, to increase favorability and shift perception, so they feel this is the loyalty program for them. The third component is about action intent; are they now more likely to join the program and book a Marriott hotel. These are all key components that we’ll be measuring over the course of this campaign to see if this content really moved the needle with this audience.
CM: How are you marketing the series to Rewards members?
MOORE: We are levering the power and community of our other channels to increase distribution of the content by sharing it on Facebook and YouTube. We are developing a significant amount of content this year and thinking of also placing some on our dot-com.
CM: Is this the first time you have used Snapchat to market Marriott Rewards?
MOORE: We’ve been active on the platform for roughly a year. We launched the Marriott Rewards Snapchat channel in October. We traditionally have used Snapchat for geo-filters. We have our 4,000 properties geo-fenced that we access with different campaigns.
CM: Can you give me an example?
MOORE: We put geo-filters around the NCAA and around the Final Four. We quickly set up the filters with each of our properties in the area, but this is definitely a first for us in terms of creating original content specifically for Snapchat.
CM: How does Snapchat fit into your overall marketing strategy for Marriott Rewards?
MOORE: We look at the everyday portion of the consumer journey, not necessarily in a travel mindset. This campaign really aligns with that everyday mindset. It’s almost a way for us to disrupt, in a good way, your everyday content all in an effort to introduce Marriott Rewards to an audience that may not be as familiar with us.
CM: How do you measure the ROI of the Snapchat campaign?
MOORE: We will be running a Nielsen Digital Brand Effect study. We take these learning to understand what’s working and what’s not. We’ve only filmed two of the four episodes so we can get a couple episodes in market and take those learning and implement those in three and four.
CM: How do the early results look?
MOORE: We just launched last Thursday and already we have insights into what’s working. For example, having the host, or the influencer, talk directly to the camera is one learning that you’ll see in future episodes. That learning came from viewers and makes the episode a little more swipeable. To date we are seeing the intro, the first 10 seconds, is where we are capturing the viewer, then the individual has to swipe to view the entire episode, which is two-to-three minutes.
CM: Why influencers?
MOORE: For each episode we have a different host who is a well-known influencer in the Snapchat space with built in audiences who is highly recognizable. We want to show the viewers that we know them by working with influencers that they’re familiar with in the hopes that will drive more association and viewership of the program.
CM: Is Snapchat just a flash in the pan?
MOORE: That’s the great thing about our approach to this channel. We’re calling this a pilot season. Our main goal is to come out of this and say, is this channel relevant for Marriott Rewards. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be able to answer the question: What is the role of Snapchat in the longevity of our social ecosystem? We’ll have the data and insights behind it. It will answer the question around what our longer strategy is for this channel.
CM: What else are you doing in social?
MOORE: We are testing in a lot of different areas—live content on Facebook. We are creating more than 100 Instagram stories this year. We just launched our presence on Facebook Messenger and our members are there and helping us drive that strategy letting us know what they’re looking for and what they want so we can build and create content that speaks to them. We’re really trying to make modern what is timeless—the experience of travel through new and innovative content.