SAN DIEGO: Marriott, the hotel and hospitality company, has enjoyed considerable success in leveraging Snapchat, the mobile-messaging platform, to engage young consumers.

Jennifer Utz Ilecki, Marriott International’s VP/Buzz Marketing & Global Partnerships, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2017 Digital & Social Media Conference.

More specifically, she explained how Marriott scored a major hit on Snapchat, which currently boasts 166m daily users – a cohort that skews heavily towards youthful demographics.

“Snapchat is particularly important to us. It gives us the ability to communicate with a younger audience that is not as familiar with Marriott, our brands, and even our loyalty programs,” Ilecki said. (For more, read WARC's report: How Marriott uses social channels to target audiences.)

To build its Snapchat presence, Marriott Rewards launched a vertical video series on the app in March 2017. Entitled “Six Days, Seven Nights”, it featured four influencers documenting their adventures in Dubai, New York, Seoul and Berlin.

As an example, Jen Levinson, an actress and social-media influencer with more than 100,000 followers on Snapchat – and a notoriously picky eater – set out to try everything from frogs’ legs to currywurst in Berlin.

Marriott’s research had demonstrated that young consumers placed a high value on rare or interesting experiences, and this content play thus zeroed in on this topic, whether focusing on locations, hotels or the unique rewards the brand could offer.

“We worked very closely with our agency, MEC, and Snap directly on all of the metrics to make sure that we were reaching the right audience,” Ilecki added.

Among the key performance indicators that Marriott used was the length of engagement. “We’re really paying attention to how many times people are watching our content, but also: Are they watching all the way through?” said Ilecki.

“What we are looking at is: Are people engaging with that content and watching it from beginning to end, which is an important metric for us.”

And, she reported, the designated KPIs pointed to a powerfully successful social-media program: “‘Six Days, Seven Nights’ had the highest view-through average across any advertising campaign on Snapchat.

“That’s not just for Marriott, that’s not specific to the travel industry, that is Snapchat as a whole,” Ilecki continued. “Safe to say, it’s something we’ll be continuing.”

Data sourced from WARC