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The importance of TikTok for travel brands

Doing some holiday or travel research? TikTok it!

Latest figures show that TikTok has become the second most used search engine, with many respected sources and talking heads making bold claims that the popular video sharing platform is replacing Google for Gen Z and millennials.

TikTok offers more than Google’s popular bank of images. Now we have a search engine that is home to billions of authentic, real-life experience videos created by real people.

Travel has become more accessible in recent years and we no longer want to see an image of a photoshopped influencer in a perfect setting abroad. We want real content however authentic content can still be aspirational. I spoke to one of our social media managers – who sits firmly in generation Z and does all of her extensive travel research on TikTok only – about the growing popularity of TikTok for search.

“I’ve been using TikTok for travel reviews and recommendations for the last couple of years because I want real, authentic content that is still aspirational – something TikTok gives me in droves.

It’s easy to search for the niche content I’m looking for. Whether it’s hotels in Lake Como, the best sunsets in Ibiza, or restaurants in Lanzarote, there are millions of videos to be discovered and learn from. The information is far more digestible than a Google search, which all too often leads to a less than inspiring review page like Tripadvisor, where all I’m given are words and a few blurry pictures. TikTok offers me countless videos of real-life experiences that are often beautiful to look and feature honest travel stories and recommendations from real people.

Authenticity is key and the billions of travel videos on TikTok offer up the good, the bad and the ugly. It feels like a stranger has gone on your holiday as a test run – sharing everything from transfer times and service to day trips and spending – so you can plan accordingly to make your trip the best it can possibly be.”

So what does this mean for brands? If you’re a travel brand and you’re not on TikTok, then it’s time to get involved. A quick search of your brand name will show you if there’s currently any content you’re mentioned in. If the general overview is positive, take note of what people are shouting about and lean into those themes when devising your content strategy. Think about your USPs and make sure you incorporate those into your strategy too. If you run a hotel, check if travellers are posting about the local area, and ensure your content gets involved with those conversations. There might be popular tourist hotspots and attractions nearby, so your content should highlight these. Most people will be searching the area, not your hotel, so it’s important to get involved in those wider conversations.

TikTok is like no other platform, so do away with formalities and inject lots of personality and a sense of humour into your content strategy. It’s not about picture perfect or super luxury. It needs be entertaining, informative and relatable to appeal to TikTok’s ever-growing audience.

Brands that are getting it right include Virgin Atlantic and, so check those out for inspiration. And if looking for help steering your TikTok strategy, reach out to the PHA social media team and let’s have a chat.

Get in touch with the team