The Opportunity for Travel Content on TikTok
Travel content is really hitting its stride on TikTok–in fact #travel has over 115 billion views.
The TikTok app surged in popularity during the 2020 lockdowns and now ranks 2nd for time usage on a social media app globally, only behind Youtube.
Compared to that golden period of travel content on Instagram (remember the organic reach!?), TikTok's growth has been shaped by users in a radically different need state. For both explicit (travel restrictions) or implicit (financial, health) reasons, travel was not on the radar for most users during this accelerated period of growth across 2020-21.
But that has all changed this year.
Are My Customers Even on TikTok?
It's not just kids dancing anymore and yes, your audience is probably on TikTok. Originally dominated by Gen Z, the average age of TikTok users is quickly rising as Millenials, Gen X and even Baby Boomers are migrating to the app. As the older generations move in, businesses on TikTok will be finding more cashed up and time-rich audience segments.
Gen Z users still make up the biggest demographic on TikTok. They're ideal potential hires if you're recruiting, but don't ignore their purchasing power either. In the US, UK and Australia, Gen Z seem to be finding their feet after handling unfathomably difficult impacts on their study, socialisation and early career opportunities. The older Gen Zs are now around 25 years old and it won't be long before they start to move up career ladders, secure more expendable income and become a formidably valuable market.
If that point is 1-2 years away, then it would be ideal to start placing your business or destination in front of them now and get the 'Dreaming' phase started.
@southaustralia Outback views got us like 🤯 Join experienced tour guides as they share their knowledge of Arkaroola’s 1600 million year geological history as they navigate steep slopes and hair raising ascents of the famous Ridgetop Track. Have you seen this terrain in the flesh? #flindersrangesoutback #australianoutback #arkaroola ♬ love on the brain sped up - xxtristanxo
Predictions: The Travel Content That Will Work on TikTok
Interestingly, we have seen curated, aspirational travel content perform very well on Instagram over the years, but it does not seem to be as well-received on TikTok. Over "Euro Summer" we saw a heavy increase in travel content.
From fast paced wrap ups of holidays, to romanticised outfit checks in Paris and even people swearing they'd found a "hidden gem"–you couldn't get far from the summer of travel content.
Our predictions for Australian travel content themes that will take off in the next 12-18 months:
- TikTok's algorithm and users absolutely love their niches, so it's a golden opportunity to source high-value interest-based travellers. If you are a scientist, educator, or expert in any kind of field, your people will find you really quickly.
- Personal story trends about travel experiences that have made a personal and emotional impression (as opposed to, "look at this luxury I consumed and envy me")
- Experiences that include a social cause (voluntourism) or an environmental cause (responsible wildlife interactions, conservation and Eco-Certified operators)
- Respectful cultural experiences, especially with Aboriginal Cultural Guides
- Travel-related "couple goals" content as younger generations discover holiday romances
- Content creators that rise for a season (or "era") on a working holiday for 3-6 months before returning to their normal life.
- Summer content that will be consumed by those freezing away in The Northern Hemisphere
Green Flags for Tourism Marketing on TikTok
- Timing-wise, it's a sweet spot for small businesses to join TikTok. The guinea pig phase has passed, but there's still plenty of market share to be claimed.
- The market is onboard and building – nearly half of TikTok's 1 billion active users are Millennials or older.
- Tourism Australia and the STOs are now on TikTok, with a handful of them actively posting. If you're one of the early adaptors, it will be easier to get support and shared exposure from State accounts.
- Find upcoming trending sounds and see how you can create your own take on it
- Create your voice for TikTok, it's all about being real (and a lot less stuffy)
- Experimenting is key, not everything is going to land, so you have to be willing to just keep trying
Road Blocks for Small Business Adoption
- Minimum spend for TikTok ads starts at $50/day.
- Creation of short form vertical video content does take an investment of time and creativity - but you will be able to re-use it for Instagram Reels & ads.
- You'll likely need a social media manager who you can trust to steer engagement in the right direction.
- It can be a struggle to post consistently