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Meliá Hotels Challenges University Students Worldwide to Help Co-create Its Tik-Tok Social Media Strategy

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The hotel company will work with the UNWTO World Tourism Students League, whose members include 59 universities from all over the world, to design its debut in Tik Tok, the fastest growing social media app in the world, particularly among younger people.

A new generation of digital native users is already socially active in the digital environment and setting the pace for new trends. The millennial generation has given way to generation Z, a new audience that Meliá Hotels International aims to attract to help build brand recognition and notoriety. 

The hotel company has been a market leader in social communication in the Spanish travel industry for many years, and has now scheduled its imminent debut in Tik Tok, the social media app that has been extraordinarily successful among younger users. The move will make the company a pioneer in the international travel industry with a strategic presence in this new channel. 

Meliá also aims to involve users themselves in the development of its new social strategy to ensure it is in line with the motivations and expectations of this new audience. Thanks to its collaboration with the UNWTO Student League, the hotel company has announced the challenge of the grand final for students of the finalist universities of Tourism or Hospitality, from Indonesia, Vietnam, Switzerland and Mexico, to help design its launch in Tik Tok. 

The teams in each of these universities have to respond to the Meliá challenge, which involves creating a Tik Tok strategy to increase brand recognition among people said to be part of “Generation Z". Each proposal will be assessed based on its innovativeness, originality, ease of implementation or contribution to objectives, among other factors, to generate a scoring system and ranking. The winning team will be invited to develop a pilot project for its strategy in one of the company's hotels in Mallorca. 

This “ideas laboratory" is a further boost to the digital transformation of Meliá and also employs “co-creation" as the basis for successful communication with this new audience, known as being first the true digital natives. “Trends are constantly emerging in social media, and that means we have to be in a constant process of reinventing ourselves. That's why we believe that bringing the new generations into our creative process is essential to ensure we offer content which is relevant for the audience through the appropriate channels" explains Santiago García Solimei, Head of Social Media at Meliá Hotels International.

​Tik Tok was founded in China as a platform to create and share short videos. Almost 70% of its users are young people between the ages of 15 and 22, and its popularity has grown significantly over the last year and it now has more than 800 million users. "For us - according to Santiago García Solimei - this new platform is undoubtedly an opportunity to connect with the next generation of travellers." 

For its part, the UNWTO World Tourism Students League is the largest and most important collection of travel and tourism talent, home to some of the best minds of the future and a source of innovative solutions. The League works together with innovative and committed companies to involve and empower the most talented youngsters in the industry. 

Zurab Pololikashvili, the UNWTO Secretary General, indicated that “as tourism recovers, the industry will need new ideas and leaders to become better and stronger. This competition will help connect with the next generation of travellers and tourism and travel leaders. It also emphasises the importance that innovation and technology will have in creating jobs and opportunities for all when we begin to travel again."

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