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Is SnapChat Ready to Join Social Media’s “Big Three” for Resort Marketers?

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After traveling the world on a book tour sparked by a clever project called Dear Photograph, Taylor Jones recently settled into a more traditional career path with Lake Louise.

But this experience combined with his relatively young age give him an extremely unique, insightful look at some of the trends that are happening in social media, marketing, and the behavior of the all-elusive millennial.

I asked for his insight on one such tech trend – Snapchat – which he’s been using with great success at the resort. Here’s what he said.

Gregg: As the von Trapp family would say, let’s start at the very beginning. For the people (like me) who don’t use or “get” Snapchat, give me the 30 second version of what it is, who uses it, and why I should I care as a marketer.
Taylor: Where do I begin? Snapchat is a communication tool between you and someone else! You can send a 1-10 second video/photo directly to multiple people at once (but they can only view it for that allotted amount of time) or add a 1-10 second video/photo to your 24 hour “My Story” that anyone who follows you can see. You can also add text, emojis and drawings on top of your video or photo to create even more of a message.


Gregg: Let’s get more specific on the functionality. My understanding (thanks to you) is that there are two pieces. The first seems to be the core, 1-to-1 stuff Snapchat originally built.
Taylor: At Lake Louise Ski Resort, we have lots of our followers on Snapchat asking us questions. Most along the lines of “What are the conditions at the resort today?” and “What new features are in the terrain park”. We use this 1-to-1 communication as a way to be responsive quickly and make the customer feel special since we’re responding ASAP and in a messaging conversation with them from within the app.

Gregg: Staying on that piece for a second, what opportunities does that create for you as a marketer at a ski resort?
Taylor: Having a personal conversation with the customer gives us the upper hand and advantage when it comes to conversation. Yes you can have a conversation on Twitter or comment back on a stream in Facebook comments, but on Snapchat you are in a chat conversation with them and it’s only the 2 of you. This makes them feel as though you are giving them your full and undivided attention. I spend lots of time just chit-chatting with our followers on Snapchat because it builds the relationship. I’ve even had folks who follow us tell me they’re coming strictly because I’ve spent the time talking with them and giving them valuable information that other resorts can’t.


Gregg: The second piece is, if my notes are legible enough to be accurate, something about “Stories.” What is that piece and how does it differ from the core platform Snapchat started with?
Taylor: Stories may be the greatest feature Snapchat introduced. From the time you add a Snap to “My Story” it will stay on “My Story” for 24 hours. You can add as many Snaps as you’d like to your story. And it’s meant for exactly as the title of it explains – you create a story. For us here at Lake Louise, storytelling is our forte. There’s always a story around here. Whether we had a huge dumping of 30cm of snow overnight, we have a famous person visiting us and they take-over our Snapchat for the day or simply getting to know the employees you see scanning your tickets – there’s always something to tell to intrigue our audience. And we do a damn good job at it. So our Stories are always something we strive to put work into on our Snapchat account.

Gregg: What are some of the metrics Snapchat provides to gauge the efficacy of your efforts? And, without sharing secrets, what kind of numbers are you seeing?
Taylor: We can see VPS and SPS for each Snapchat we put on our story. Our numbers are well over what we expected. Usually see around 75%-80% of our audience viewing each Snap and if we tell them to screenshot a snapchat we’ll see 30% SPS rate – which is actually unbelievable since that turns into the person having our content saved on their camera roll in their phone.


Gregg: What’s the biggest downside to Snapchat, at least right now, for resort marketers?
Taylor: Analytics. Right now you get the basics, views per snap (VPS) and screenshots per snap (SPS). I’m sure in the future, this is something Snapchat will look into. Probably release and API that software companies can tie into. This will definitely bring more businesses on board.

Gregg: I feel like as marketers we’ve been searching for a fourth big social platform to go all-in on (after Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Google+ hasn’t blossomed as we hoped, the results i’ve seen from resorts using Pinterest have been less than impressive. Does SnapChat have the pieces in place to claim that spot in resort marketing plans?
Taylor: 100%. Snapchat has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest app over the last year or so. The audience is there – Snapchat just needs a little bit more backbone in features and analytics and it’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Remember when Facebook offered $3 billion for Snapchat a year or so ago? Yep. Keep an eye on Snapchat and don’t miss the bandwagon on your way out!

Add Lake Louise on Snapchat: ski.louise

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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