TikTok is currently one of the fastest growing social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users world-wide, including 100 million in Europe, 17 million of which are in the UK.

TikTok, known as Douyin in its home market, was launched in China in September 2016 and was pushed out globally as TikTok the following year.  The TikTok app allows users to create 15 second snippets of video content with filters, music, sound, text and effects.  Early adopters included the beauty, food and fashion industries and now the travel sector has seen a surge in popularity, particularly during the initial stages of quarantine.

Over the past few years, social media has become a key channel for destinations to market to younger audiences, with research showing that as many as 84% of millennials (25-40) and 73% of non-millennials are more likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s holiday photos or social media updates.  

When it comes to travel planning, Generation X travellers (41-56) may head to Pinterest for travel inspiration, scrolling through aesthetically pleasing blogs.  Millennials (25-40) might use Instagram to create saved folders full of insta-worthy restaurants and attractions for future trips. But when it comes to Generation Z (6-24), more and more they’re turning to TikTok. 

What does it mean for DMOs?

It’s true to say that TikTok did gain a reputation as an app for teens to film themselves dancing to popular songs.  And while you’ll certainly find that content on the app if you go looking for it, that’s definitely not all there is to it.  According to the latest data, around 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34, with 26% between the ages 18 and 24. For destinations, it’s important to note the impact that young adults can have on planning for family trips, as well as their potential to plan trips of their own in the coming years.

Additionally, travel content is a burgeoning sector of the platform. While it seems that few destination organisations have jumped on board so far, travel influencers and destination enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to create content for destinations, with hashtags such as #travel and #tiktoktravel seeing more than 50 billion views combined.

When it comes to the videos themselves, influencers and content creators tend to post more inspirational videos showcasing awe-inspiring views and luxury resorts. DMOs can use TikTok to promote their restaurants, attractions, hotels and events, as in Visit Liverpool's channel.  DMOs may want to look towards local bloggers for inspiration when it comes to creating content of their own. These accounts may post reviews of their favourite restaurants, short vlogs of their day-to-day activities, or round-ups of things to do in a particular destination. Not only could DMOs replicate this content, but they could also partner with local bloggers and influencers to create similar videos if they don’t have the resources to do them in-house. 

TikTok Isn’t Just a Passing Trend

Let’s face it, the last thing social media managers want to do is keep up with yet another social media platform. From Facebook posts to Instagram stories to Fleets and Reels, content creation can feel like a never-ending task, and it can be hard to determine where to invest your time and resources. But at the end of the day, video marketing isn’t going away anytime soon, and you can always maximize your efficiency by repurposing content for TikTok to Instagram Reels, where videos get more than 2x more engagement than Instagram photos. Speaking of engagement, did we mention that TikTok’s average engagement rate is 29%? That’s a far cry from the usual 3-5% you see on Instagram and Facebook, so it’s definitely worth giving the platform a try!

If you would like to discuss how you can incorporate your TikTok channel into your destination site, please get in touch with your Simpleview Account Manager.

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