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How TikTok is changing the way we travel

12/08/2022

It’s no surprise that with the rise in social media in the last decade our desire to explore new destinations has grown exponentially and it’s never been easier to discover exotic places. Floods of tourists have headed to see the gorgeous landscapes of Thailand or the breath-taking sunsets of Santorini and while the Instagram pictures look almost too good to be true, we’ve seen the reality of the over-tourism in these tourist hotspots!

Gen Zs have started documenting their travels through Instagram reels and TikToks. It’s a fun way of showcasing memories and key moments from your travels. This doesn’t necessarily mean posting a video of the white sandy beaches in the Maldives, more often it could be of a time something went wrong such as being stuck in a storm or even your car breaking down. TikTok is changing the way we travel and we think it could be for the better!

Transparency 

The struggles we all experience when traveling never disappeared, it’s just not something people wanted to post about. It seemed as though everyone wanted to have THE perfect holiday. TikTok is all about niches and relatable content and the content made through the platform is usually not professionally shot videos but instead are made by regular users documenting their daily life. The unfiltered bursts of life we see on TikTok are more engaging and show us places we never even knew existed! Nothing dramatic usually happens in these videos but they show moments throughout the user’s travels which are less impressive but more intimate and relatable to what you might expect in these countries. 

Over-tourism has been a hot topic since the rise in social media and we don’t think that’s a coincidence! TikTok users are calling out overtourism and showing the realities of traveling to popular destinations. The locations don’t stop being beautiful but people are being more real about what to expect and now we just get to see both sides of peoples travels – The good, the bad and the ugly. 

Finding the Undiscovered & Recommendations 

The easiest way to start travel planning with TikTok is by following a hashtag. You may not always find what you like but you can get a feel for the local people and the culture through hashtags too. TikTok can make a destination famous overnight. @Travelingrosas posted a video of her stay in Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico and while most of her videos only get a couple thousand views, this one hit 3.5million. She said the people of Mexico know about the natural beauty of this place but it is a hidden gem from tourists; probably not for much longer though!

What does this mean for brands? 

TikTok presents a massive opportunity for travel brands and companies to grow organically. The travel industry has suffered due to covid-19 and halted travel around the globe completely. Could TikTok be the travel industry’s saving grace? While TikTok users look for more authenticity, it may be challenging for brands to find the right balance between user experience and advertising. Ads on the platform should feel native to the platform and less like traditional ads. With #travel being viewed 94.4 Billion times to date on TikTok it was an obvious move for Travel brands to get on the platform to see how they could use it for brand awareness, engagement and of course sales! Here’s a few of our favourites… 

Booking.com 

Booking.com only started their TikTok channel at the beginning of July 2022. It’s only been 1 month and they’ve already racked up an impressive 37.9K followers and 165.8K Likes. Their videos are relatable and show quick snippets of different travel locations which is a popular format to use on TikTok. For the most part their videos are receiving a couple of thousand views but since starting the account they have held 3 competitions each receiving over 4 million views, only catch is, you have to be ready to go within 48 hours!

@bookingcom

Travel from your desk to Hawaii tomorrow! How? Can you leave within 2 days!? Like this video. Follow @bookingcom. And tag your travel partner with #TikTokMadeMeBookIt for a chance to win a trip up to 10K to anywhere in the galaxy (that's avail on Booking.com lol)! No purchase needed. 18+. Ends 11:00 CEST on 07/08/22. Check the link in the bio for the official rules.#Hawaii #Travel #TikTokTravel

♬ original sound - Booking.com

Melia Hotels 

TikTok provides an abundance of opportunities for hotels to reach new audiences and demonstrates what they have to offer. Users should be viewing videos more like experiences rather then ads. Some hotels take advantage of influencer marketing as they have the trust of their audiences, so using them to showcase different hotels and locations helps with exposure and generates sales. Melia Hotels post videos made by influencers they’ve invited to stay in their hotels and it makes for great content as showcases not only the gorgeous hotels but also what can be found in the area.

National Geographic 

TikTok helped National Geographic set up their TikTok account last year and their bio reads ‘Inspiring the explorer in everyone’. They have amazing content of different natural beauties around the world along with the incredible wildlife you might find too. Their goal is to promote biodiversity, sustainability and ideal tourist destinations. 

TikTok is showcasing not just the beauty of travelling but also the fun that comes with it in a new and innovative way. Brands, creators and regular users of the app can connect through different experiences and inspire others to explore the world. Users are being educated about new destinations, the do’s & don’ts, solo travelling, cultures, cuisines, how to be more sustainable when traveling and the list goes on…Its safe to say we’ll definitely be using TikTok to find those hidden gems!

– Fia O’Brien

The Verve Experience Podcast

Verve is an agency celebrating 30 years at the top of the events, experiential and marketing industries. This podcast pulls from that wealth of experience, giving key insights from the past, tips for the future, and everything in between.

You can listen to all of  The Verve Experience episodes here: https://audioboom.com/channels/5045240

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