Another app? It’s one more thing to add to your social media marketing strategy for tourism. But, before you write it off, I’ll share why it’s worth your time as a tour operator to create TikTok tours.
TikTok is a short-form video app designed to ‘inspire creativity and bring joy,’ featuring personalized content tailored to individuals — meaning no two feeds are the same.. With in-app editing, digestible videos and a high-reach potential, it’s worth a second look.
Built upon sharing short-form content, TikTok videos can be divided into two segments – edu-tainment and informational.
A quick snapshot of TikTok’s statistics: the platform has 800(!) million active users with a primary demographic of 16-39-year-olds. Videos are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. So, if you’re a travel brand in the business of attracting people from all over the world, this is a pretty amazing virtual space to be in.
Why TikTok for travel brands?
As one of the leading social sharing apps, TikTok keeps on growing. Rising to fame during quarantine, TikTok started attracting travel-hungry millennials beyond the digital-savvy Generation Z group.
Authentic, story-driven content is key on this visual platform, making it ideal for tour and activity operators. The home feed works by integrating new and popular content as you refresh.
Videos will have an increased chance of being seen by more viewers by using location-specific hashtags alongside your company name and the activities your business offers. The beauty of TikTok is its ability to reach multiple demographics on a massive scale with each post acting as an opportunity to share, connect and inspire.
Creating TikTok-friendly tours
As a tour operator, you see first hand how much people love to document their travel experiences with photo and video. Creating opportunities for guests to make use of TikTok while out adventuring is a savvy move to attract, engage with and delight your visitors.
Imagine you have guests excited about documenting the scenery or a wild animal they spot while out on tour. Building in a bit of time at each location is a thoughtful way for guests to capture fun moments as they happen, highlighting what makes your tours and activities worth booking.
You can imagine how amazing it is for guests to see a massive whale pod cruise by while you’re kayaking or exploring on paddle boards, so grant customers the opportunity to capture these moments in real-time.
If you’re focused on connecting with your audience and allowing more people to discover what you offer, these short, personality-driven clips are a fresh, fun way to share content with a broader audience.
TikTok is also an ideal platform for showcasing Sneak Peek Virtual Tours. With guests sharing 15-second video clips from their perspective, it will inspire cooped-up travelers to keep watching. Short, fun videos invite connection and help you to resonate with your guests.
Invite your guests to tag you on TikTok and Instagram with geo-tags. Encourage your guides to share a day-in-the-life from their point of view while out on tour or film while highlighting a noteworthy location.
Showing faces behind the brand helps create trust, making it easier for guests to feel like they can document their own experience in real-time. This heightens the opportunity for more people to see what your business offers.
How to train tour guides on TikTok
Learning how to make a TikTok video is a process of trial and error. Start with the back or front-facing camera. Vertical content performs best on TikTok, so the focus is on recording a steady shot with clear audio.
Fortunately, some of the most popular content on TikTok involves – and I bet you can guess – pets and travel. TikTok has plenty of videos featuring videos listing ‘top 10’ travel locations and clips of people watching their washing machine during COVID-19 while pretending to be looking out an airplane window.
With the anticipated surge of travel post-COVID, think of opportunities to inspire guests to visit by inviting them into your world through short videos. If you search travel on TikTok, you will observe people acknowledging pent-up travel demand during quarantine by showcasing beautiful views or fun activities meant to inspire wanderlust.
Transporting people visually with a quip or funny caption, especially in the world of social media, is marketing gold. Tapping into short attention spans with fun, digestible and relatable content is a way for your company to attract new guests on a global scale. Part of the reason the platform is so addictive is that the videos are entertaining and super short.
High-quality, hyper-polished content is not the goal with TikTok. Driven by people with a camera built into their phones, this is a playground for content creators, influencers and travelers alike. A bit of humour and value-based content goes a long way.
6 creative TikTok tourism ideas
- Encourage guests to capture animals in their videos. Animals are amazing for creating waves of delight on the feed
- Tips/tricks and life hacks are useful angles to prep guests ahead of visiting your destination
- Allow guests to film activities in action on a big adventure day
- If you operate walking or food tours, highlight a few viewpoints guests will see while on tour with you
- Create a video including what to pack for a trip along with ‘must-have’ items
- Start a TikTok travel challenge that’s specific to your destination
Steps for making TikTok travel videos
Finding yourself lost for ideas? Some videos have hundreds of thousands (and some with millions) of views and you’ll want to follow these steps:
- Scan TikTok’s home feed to explore popular content
- Explore different hashtags to get a sense for high-performing content
- Off-the-cuff moments are winners in this space so focus on being helpful and laidback
- Start filming as if you’ll be sharing with a single person, keeping your video lighthearted
- Aim to record for 15-30 seconds at a time and save to the TikTok gallery
- Adjust recording filters, add sound and text to your video
- Press publish and be sure to add a caption along with geotags. Have fun!
How to make your TikTok videos better
Imagine yourself in the viewer’s shoes — you’re probably much more likely to get excited about a new adventure if you already feel connected to the company and who’s behind it. Quick tidbits like getting ready for the day or highlighting something you think people might want to know in advance are valuable.
Anything can be made entertaining with some catchy music and delightful edits. The app performs best with vertical videos. Encourage tour guides to capture guests enjoying the moment by recording for 15-60 seconds as a memento of their trip.
There are two ways for users to enjoy the social video sharing platform — either by re-editing existing content or by creating original content.
Remember, these videos are not meant to be a deep-dive. A glimpse into what your company offers with some behind-the-scenes is a great starting point on the app with a big investment of time and money. The focus is on creating quick, fun and enjoyable content — anything to inspire daydreaming or a lighthearted tip. Learn five tips to create attention-grabbing videos on TikTok.
Play around with what gets eyeballs on your TikTok tourism feed. Feel free to ask for ‘the close’ or give viewers a call-to-action for them to explore your website and maybe even book with your company simply because your videos are fun to watch.
As a platform that rewards entertaining content, TikTok contains a wealth of easy-to-create, relatable content without investing in videos with a high production cost.
Focus on encouraging guests to post TikTok videos with an amazing view or focusing on a savvy tip that you think fellow guests might appreciate. This approach makes it seem like you’re inside customer’s heads before they even step foot in your door and gives current guests a reason to share their experience online in a visually engaging way.
TikTok is designed to reward embellishment, humour and owning your brand, so have fun with recording and see what sticks. The social platform is not so much about promoting business as it is about showcasing personality.
TikTok for social media marketing
TikTok is a visually stimulating app with a user-friendly design. The in-app editing makes it easy to record separately and stitch clips together with ease. An added benefit of TikTok is in repurposing content. While the algorithm in TikTok is a bit of a mystery, videos grow organically and can see impressive reach, but views don’t necessarily mean results.
You can download the short videos to share on other platforms like Instagram Reels and Stories. Adding a series of videos to your tourism Youtube channel, especially if you want to experiment with “Shorts,” may help boost your discoverability. Cross-pollination on multiple social platforms creates more opportunities for people to find you.
TikTok is a foray into user-generated content (UGC) where savvy tour operators can benefit from encouraging guests to share what they love. It’s ideal for filming and sharing short clips, which means it’s up to you and your team to create space for guests to capture their experience.
- Allot 1-2 hours per week to familiarize yourself with the platform, scanning and watching videos on the #ForYouFeed’
- TikTok videos are a fantastic way for guests to showcase adventurous activities where the viewer can visualize themselves in the moment, with added personality and entertainment value. These videos can get to the heart of what makes your tour company exciting and worth booking with. You know your audience best, so experiment with creating content that inspires you
- Use TikTok as a tool for showcasing the personality of your brand and your team. Any social platform’s goal is to position your company as a friendly, inviting option to prospective guests. TikTok is much more about ‘show and tell’ with a huge emphasis on fun, digestible content