Companies in the tourism industry have been using various platforms in their social media marketing mix. TikTok is a next-gen social media platform that has taken the world by storm. It’s everywhere! You can even see TikTok videos on Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels and Stories.
If you are in the sector, you are probably wondering whether TikTok travel marketing is worth your time and money.
You should not base your decision on a hunch or personal experience with social media marketing. Instead, you need relevant information to make an informed decision. Here is our take on TikTok travel marketing, including what it is, the benefits it offers, how to use it, and more.
What is TikTok travel marketing?
TikTok (pronounced Tic Toc) is the youngest addition to popular social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It offers users numerous ways to create and share content, engage with other users, and share their thoughts and opinions via the comment section.
The platform started small, but it quickly became popular worldwide. It appears that short videos resonate pretty well with social media users. At the moment, it supports uploading videos that are anywhere between 15 seconds and 3 minutes long.
The definition of TikTok travel marketing is pretty much similar to the social media marketing definition. It goes along the following lines:
“TikTok travel marketing refers to the use of TikTok to increase travel company’s reach, build the brand, increase website traffic, increase destination awareness, engage travelers, and boost bookings.”
In other words, TikTok travel marketing is a type of tourism marketing that refers to any marketing strategy deployed by a company in the tourism sector on TikTok. It can help you promote tourism in several ways.
You can create and share videos (popularly called Tik Toks) and give them time to generate organic views, likes, and favorites. Alternatively, you can leverage popular hashtags, trends, and paid TikTok marketing to take shortcuts and reach your target audience faster.
Now that you know what TikTok travel marketing is, let’s see what benefits it offers compared to other channels.
What are the benefits compared to other channels?
You’ve probably seen travel brands of all sizes using social media to build communities and brands, engage travelers, and increase bookings. The platforms they most commonly use are Instagram and Facebook, or both. The chances are that you did your fair share of social media marketing as well.
Why add TikTok to your social media marketing mix? Is it worth it? The best way to answer these questions is to explore what benefits TikTok offers compared to other channels.
TikTok is a very popular social media platform. It has over one billion users at the moment. However, Facebook has almost 3 billion users, followed by Instagram, which has 1.4 billion users. How is TikTok a better option for travel marketing, then? It all boils down to user activity.
The platform has exceptional user activity. By the end of 2021, it had 1.2 billion monthly active users. The projections tell us that the number of monthly active users on TikTok will increase by 50% to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2022.
So far, the app has been downloaded over 3 billion times from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. That’s still less than Facebook and Instagram. What’s the catch, then?
The catch is in how many hours on average social media users spend on social media every month. In this category, TikTok is the undisputed champion, with 25.7 hours monthly spent by its users. On average, Facebook and Instagram users spend 16 and 7.9 hours per month, respectively.
Amazing reach potential
The total number of users and monthly active users stats are not as valuable for travel marketers as the reach potential. You need to know more about the app’s usage to understand its advertising potential. TikTok has a great reach potential, and it’s right there competing against the biggest brands, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
TikTok has a reach potential of 10%, which places it right beside Instagram and Facebook regarding ad efficiency. In some age groups, it even outperforms its competitors. We will return to it in the “What travel segments can be targeted through TikTok” section.
Many relevant influencers
Travel brands are familiar with leveraging social media influencers to advertise their travel products, destinations, and activities. TikTok has to offer many relevant influencers to travel companies. There is one big thing that differentiates influencers on this platform when compared to others.
TikTok users are very active and hungry for engaging and authentic content. Influencers on this platform have a huge following and create and publish videos daily, sometimes even a few times a day. You can choose from numerous travel-related influencers and get incredible exposure.
Organic reach on a budget
Many smaller travel brands don’t engage in social media marketing because it often requires a substantial budget. At least, it’s the case with Instagram and Facebook. TikTok unlocks valuable marketing opportunities you can pursue even with a limited budget.
You can achieve organic reach without a big marketing budget which is often not the case with Facebook and Instagram. That’s because TikTok has an algorithm that promotes the content of new users and continues to place it on people’s feeds based on the number of likes and comments.
Thanks to this recommendation algorithm, you can reach your target audience without spending too much.
Access to a business account
Another perk that TikTok offers and other social media platforms don’t is a business account. Instead of publishing content via a standard or creator account, you can create a business account and get instant access to several additional features that can help you streamline your marketing activities.
Some useful features that come with a business account are performance and audience data reports, the ability to add important links in your profile description, an in-app business content guide, analytics, success stories, and creative advice.
What travel segments can be targeted through TikTok
Before choosing the right platform for social media advertising, you need to ensure you can reach your ideal target audience. Compared to other social media networks that attract quite diverse demographics in terms of age, TikTok users are usually younger.
The latest reportindicates that more than 50% of TikTok users are 34 years old or younger, which is why the fact that this social media platform performs exceptionally well within the 14–29 target group doesn’t come as a surprise.
While TikTok enables you to target different demographic segments based on age, it offers the most value to travel companies interested in targeting Generation Z and young millennials. These two segments account for over 40% of the total population and travel more than other generations.
TikTok travel marketing stats, is there an opportunity?
So far, you’ve learned the benefits of TikTok travel marketing and which segments you can target through this platform. Now, let’s see whether TikTok offers real opportunities to travel companies.
We’ve established that more than half of TikTok users are Gen Z and young millennials. These generations are tech-savvy and rely on online information when making travel decisions. More precisely, research has found that social media is a go-to resource for almost 60% of Gen Z’ers with summer travel plans. They use social media to look for additional information to plan their trips better.
The same research found that approximately 50% of Gen Z’ers and millennials follow at least one travel influencer on social media. Over 80% of travelers responded that they use travel influencers for recommendations.
Furthermore, it appears that TikTok users use the platform for travel inspiration. One recent study discovered that almost 80% of people on the platform were inspired to choose to go to a destination or purchase a travel product because they saw travel-related content on TikTok. 50% of them ended up booking a trip.
How can companies leverage TikTok travel marketing?
Everyone in the travel sector, including travel agents, OTAs, hotels, and transportation companies, can use TikTok to promote tourism and destinations to tourists. TikTok enables you to do so in many different ways. Let’s see how you can leverage TikTok travel marketing.
Hashtags and trends are really popular among TikTok users. Travel companies can leverage them to appear on the feeds of thousands of users. They can create trend-related videos and find creative ways to promote travel products or destinations.
Behind-the-scenes is a popular type of content in social media marketing campaigns. You can use it to invite your viewers to discover details about some products. For instance, you can showcase the hotel rooms, feature a chef preparing a delicious meal, or highlight some sought-after amenities.
Exclusive sneak peeks
TikTok users crave exclusive content – something they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. You can get their attention and have potentially viral content if you share with them something unique. You can be creative by showcasing luxury rooms, 1st class travel, bonus amenities, and hidden gems a location can offer.
We’ve already mentioned that TikTok doesn’t lack travel influencers. You can work with one to promote your products, and there are plenty to choose from. You won’t have trouble finding an influencer that aligns with your values and has a following that matches your target audience.
“Did you know” informational videos
Informational videos are very popular on TikTok, especially if they showcase exciting facts and stats. Fortunately, there are a lot of facts and stats you can discover about destinations worldwide. Include them in high-quality videos, and you will potentially generate many views and followers.
Personal videos are also popular on TikTok. Don’t forget that most TikTok users are young and young people are interested in discovering details about different professions. For instance, you can make daily vlogs as a travel agent. You can make it funny or stay professional – in either case, you will generate some views.
The platform also has support for paid TikTok travel marketing. You must create a business account and set up your paid marketing campaign. There are a lot of settings, including targeting options, that can help you reach your ideal target audience with your ads.
Real-life examples of TikTok travel marketing
The best way to understand TikTok travel marketing is to see it in action. Here are some of the most noteworthy examples of travel marketing done right on this platform.
Attractive daily trip itinerary by the Palm Beaches
You can learn a lot about destinations and their TikTok accounts from the Palm Beaches. This destination is among the destinations with the highest following on TikTok. They regularly publish new videos highlighting cool things tourists can do at the location.
Here is an excellent example of how to showcase a day trip itinerary in a fun and engaging way.
EF Tours’ trendy posts
Here is another example of TikTok travel marketing done right. EF Tours specializes in offering travel packages to students who are interested in studying abroad. Their entire account is devoted to the young generation who are interested in meeting new people while travelling.
EF Tours follows the latest trends to attract its target audience, like using catchy music and attractive video editing.
Marriott has its own song and hashtags
Even some of the biggest brands in the tourism and hospitality sector use TikTok. Marriott’s “Travel Makes Us” campaign is a perfect example. The company has included its own song and created unique hashtags.
It encourages travelers to record and share their travel experiences using the song and hashtag. It took just under 40 hours for the Marriot campaign to generate almost 20 million views and drive engagement rates.
Hot Wire Travel’s powerful synergy of competition and influencers
Hotwire is a famous travel brand that has a massive following on TikTok. It’s interesting to discover how the brand excelled in TikTok travel marketing. They used the oldest trick in the book – the brand allowed TikTok users to participate in a competition.
They partnered with influencers and asked them to publish their own reasons for planning a post-pandemic getaway. The campaign generated over 1 billion views.
Delta Air Line’s recipe for quick exposure
Delta Air Line started with a small following on TikTok. To generate more followers and improve the brand’s reach, the company asked users to share their favorite travel experiences. In just 36 hours, the TikTok travel marketing campaign “FavoriteTripChallenge” generated almost 20 million views.
TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms, with the highest number of hours users spend on average every month. It attracts a younger population, including Gen Z and younger millennials. If this is your target group, you should explore TikTok travel marketing as a viable marketing strategy.
The best thing about it is that you have plenty of ways to pursue it. You can launch a paid ads campaign, work with an influencer(s), or create valuable and unique videos to engage and attract travelers.