If there is one winning strategy to get you craving a vacation, it is influencer videos on TikTok. Anyone who has spent some time on social networks to explore the #travel hashtag will likely find themselves in the throes of vacation fever and immediately start looking for flight deals and hotel accommodations.
This ability to trigger our greatest travel desires is something the vacation industry can’t afford to overlook. Especially now that revenge travel is trending and trips to local attractions have become en vogue, TikTok’s algorithm is precious in driving a high return on investment (ROI) when combining it with the strength of influencer marketing.
Let’s take a closer look at how brands can best collaborate with TikTok influencers for marketing purposes.
For several reasons, TikTok is a convenient social media marketing tool for the travel industry. First of all, video continues to be king: Online video consumption jumped to four hours per day in 2020, and people’s content engagement rates are much higher with videos than with static posts. Furthermore, users with more than 1000 followers are now increasingly live streaming their videos as this tool allows them to attract even more engagement.
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. According to Wallaroomedia, 60% of those users are Gen Z, between 16 and 24-years-old. This generation is increasingly interested in sustainable and conscious traveling, and TikTok content is ranking high in their social media preference list. In fact, most users love to express their political attitudes on the platform—which helps those hotel brands who want to leverage that power.
On top of all of this, TikTok’s algorithm helps leverage local popularity. It geofences areas, so nearby videos will be shown to users first. Then, if they receive engagement (views, likes, and shares), they are spread over the platform until they reach a global audience. This is a very beneficial tool for the hospitality industry as great content can attract people who are both nearby and far away. This is very beneficial at times, where local traveling has moved to the top of the list. According to a whisper, a new feature will soon put an even larger focus on nearby content. TikTok will possibly add a selection filter on its "For You" page, which will enable users to only view videos in the local region and might have the potential for influencers to become the voice of their area (and economy).
The numbers don’t lie: Sixty-six percent of consumers aged 18-29 trust influencer recommendations, and influencer exposure leads to social conformity effects. People follow influencers because they like their content and style and identify with their personalities, habits, and values. This triggers TikTokers’ desire to align their preferences and choices with those of their favorite creators. Influencers have their followership and social network, which also helps you reach a broad audience. Especially if you spread your influencer portfolio across several micro-influencers, you have the chance to reach several different groups of people, including both travel enthusiasts and more reluctant travelers.
Influencers can take on the task of promoting your offerings to their already engaged and loyal followers. Check what creators usually post by browsing through some examples: Riotravelers have many collaboration posts, including tips on top hotels in several destinations. In one video, the travel influencer Rosssmith reached more than six hundred thousand views showing off the coolest hotel in Greece. As there are no limits to the content that works with influencer marketing, you can offer them to test your products, invite them to your facilities, or let them create a challenge mentioning your brand in the rules. Lastly, you can choose influencers that live stream and let them share promo codes during those sessions.
To use the full potential of influencers, you need to find and hire influencers that are an authentic fit for you. One way of doing this would be going onto the platform and using the discovery function. Still, the easiest way is to use influencer platforms that let you filter by industry, desired platform, and follower base. There are calculators that also indicate an estimated price you will pay for each collaboration. Here, it’s essential not to let yourself get blinded entirely by follower numbers. Thanks to the algorithm, even TikTokers with only a few followers can have high viewing and engagement scores. Therefore, it is better to click through the average views of their posts to get a feel for their popularity.
After identifying which influencers cater to your audience, you can check whether their style, language and branded content will play into your brands’ strategy. It is vital to have a good match between your brand and your influencer’s promoted values, as authenticity is key to social proof.
Let’s say your hotel offers eco-friendly tours. When looking for the right content creator, make sure they have promoted an environmental-conscious lifestyle in the past and can talk about those topics with high authority. If so, you can ensure that their audience is interested in hearing what the TikTok influencer says about your tour and learning more about your services.
An analysis of the best-ranking videos with the hashtag #travel shows that the most-viewed influencer videos focus on offering desirable destinations and things to do there or giving educational tips, such as “What to pack”. Brands can hire influencers to create trends, which will help them reach even larger, new audiences. An example of such a trend could be a collaboration that asks TikTokers to show off their favorite vacation souvenirs, cook the best local recipe together, or start a hiking challenge.
At the center of TikTok’s engagement rationale lies creativity. And that’s exactly why influencers are so valuable because they know exactly what content to share to keep their engagement rates high and their audience engaged. They know how to use edits, trending music, and other creative elements. So the key is to trust influencers and leave the artistic work to the creator rather than limiting them to your imagination.
It’s high time not just to be an observer of current trends but to create social movements that help regain pre-pandemic strength. Luckily, with a game-changer like influencer marketing, you’re closer than ever to get to the top of the curve.
About the Author
Kyle Dulay is the Co-Founder of Collabstr, an open marketplace for TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube influencers. He has been creating software tools for the creator economy for the past three years. In his spare time, he creates content about investing & entrepreneurship.