TikTok is the trip before the trip

Travel and hospitality players can harness the power of immersive short-form videos on TikTok to offer personalised travel content to ignite inspiration and capture the demand of travellers

Travel and tourism industry players engaged in a panel discussion on the power of short-form videos at TikTok’s inaugural event for the sector, Travel Unboxed, in May
Travel and tourism industry players engaged in a panel discussion on the power of short-form videos at TikTok’s inaugural event for the sector, Travel Unboxed, in May

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As border restrictions ease and the travel industry recovers, tourists are making up for lost time and eager to explore the world once again.

To cut through the cluttered competitive space for their attention, travel brands must be able to inspire wanderlust, connect deeply with them and satisfy their motivations.

With TikTok, industry players can now capitalise on personalised content delivered through its recommendation engine to reach targeted travellers before they even have an intent to travel.

To demonstrate the power of short-form videos for the travel and tourism industry, TikTok organised its first-ever physical event curated for the sector, Travel Unboxed, in May. It was attended by more than 170 representatives from OTAs, airlines, hotels and media agencies from South-east Asia.

Real experiences, real reviews, real travellers
TikTok creates the intent to travel by making it possible to travel through the experiences of other travellers. Users share their authentic experiences on the short-form video platform with a like-minded community, through the raw and real moments captured during their journeys.

In fact, the unique #ForYou feed offers tailored travel content allowing time-strapped travellers to immerse in experiences before they embark on a trip.

According to a TikTok commissioned survey on travel in South-east Asia last year, 80 per cent of TikTok users agree that the platform had inspired them to travel. About 70 per cent of them also indicated that they like to share their travel experiences with others on TikTok.

A case in point – Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) videos gained traction through TikTok, with travellers sharing their love and interest in Singapore as a tourist destination and helped built brand love across the platform through the hashtag #visitSingapore. These videos have over 379 million views to date.

Driving real results & impact
Apart from the democratisation of content and creativity that gave rise to videos that are deemed more authentic and relatable to fellow travellers, TikTok’s marketing mix can enable brands to reach travellers effectively.

Brands have seen success and higher efficiency since tapping into TikTok’s suite of solutions that powers full-funnel campaigns.

For example, they saw up to two times more conversions, 36 per cent more efficient CPA (cost per acquisition), and 33 per cent higher CVR (conversation rate) when running a full-funnel campaign, according to TikTok’s Media Settings Levers Driving Performance Study, South-east Asia, 2022.

Brands can therefore reap short-term benefits with immediate conversions with performance solutions and gain a long-term impact by building brand love and broadening reach through branding solutions on TikTok.

Georgina Koh, director, marketing activation, STB, panelist at the Travel Unboxed event, believed that moving forward, people are going to be increasingly engaged in raw and unfiltered content, rather than polished, highly glossy productions.

“As a destination and travel brand, it’s important for us to harness the power of tools that allow people to develop creative content on their own in a very real and authentic way.”

Another panelist, Marcus Yong, vice president, global marketing, Klook even saw the future potential of bridging the online-to-offline travel experience with TikTok – forming a repeated cycle from the online stage where travellers search for what to do, taking part in the activity at the destination offline, and creating a short-form video, leaving a review, to discovering new activities at the location.

@tiktokforbusinesssea✈ Experience the trip before the trip on TikTok! Watch TikTok Unboxed 2023 at the LINK IN BIO to learn how to leverage #travel, #content, and #community for your brand. #TikTokTravelUnboxed #Marketing #TravelMarketing♬ original sound – TikTok for Business SEA

Reaching out to a diverse & passionate travel community
TikTok’s growing user base has led to the explosion of travel reviews and content which are at the forefront of driving the culture of travel.

Rich and diverse subcultures arising from hashtags, such as #familytravel and #streetfood, managed to garner billions of views, because of the community’s shared interest in the topics.

TikTok’s research also identified five key personas among its users – nature lovers (68 per cent), culture seekers (64 per cent), foodies (57 per cent), event-goers (57 per cent) and luxury travellers (29 per cent).

Insights showed that nature lovers are travellers who are most excited about nature, love the outdoors, and value places with sustainability practices. They are more likely to consider environmental factors when making travel plans.

Luxury travellers will splurge on an elevated travelling experience and have spent US$7,500 on average over the past year on their vacations.

Currently, there is a mix of targeting techniques and options available on TikTok such as interest, behaviour, hashtag targeting and even contextual targeting, where brands are able to place their advertisement or branded content before and after a piece of relevant content to target these personas.

TikTok offers brands the opportunity to play in the space where inspiration begins, before travellers even have the intent to travel. With real travellers sharing authentic experiences on the short-video platform, brands can utilise TikTok’s suite of solutions to show up where it matters in the multi-touch journey to drive real results and impact.

TikTok is the trip before the trip.

Ready to unleash the power of short-from videos to turbocharge your marketing efforts?

Find out how your brand can tap on TikTok to fuel inspiration before potential travellers even consider a trip here.

To learn how to leverage TikTok to unlock the full potential of your travel business, check out the video on-demand of Travel Unboxed 2023 here.

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