Travel Forward 2021: ‘Travel is discovering the joy of TikTok’, says video platform

Travel Forward 2021: ‘Travel is discovering the joy of TikTok’, says video platform

Short-form video content platform TikTok is seeing increasing engagement from travel brands looking to use the app as an alternative way to engage with its growing audiences.

Speaking at this week’s World Travel Market trade show in London, Hannah Bennett, industry lead global business solutions at TikTok, said the the platform is still “very young”

But she said travel is a growing segment on the platform, accounting for 25 billion views. TikTok is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance.

Bennett said lockdown saw an acceleration from the largely lip syncing and dancing platform Musical.ly it merged with in 2018 to become a much broader entertainment platform.

“Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy,” she said. “We see ourselves as a video platform for entertainment rather than a social platform.

“It’s not somewhere you come on to find out what your friends are up to but you get to watch and engage with really exciting content.

“As of last month we have one billion users. Young users were early adopters two-and-a-half to three years ago but we now have one hundred unique users in Europe.

“Growth has been really accelerated by lockdown because young adopters brought in their parents and grandparents and showed it could be a really shared experience.”

Bennett cited a number of travel brands that have started using TikTok including Virgin Atlantic, booking.com, hotels.com, Tourism Switzerland, Visit Britain and Visit Ireland.

Budget carrier Ryanair is also a heavy user of the platform curating a fun and often irreverent persona with its postings featuring talking aircraft.

As well as aligning themselves with existing travel themes on TikTok like luxury, sustainability, domestic travel and reviews, brands are also exploiting other non-travel themes that drive engagement on the platform, said Bennett.

TikTok for Business offers a number of paid-for opportunities for brands including in-feed ads self-service platform for a minimum spend of £50 a day.

There is also a creators’ marketplace where brands can collaborate with over 100,000 users of TikTok who are influencers on the site.

“I’m not here to say move all you resources to TikTok,” Bennett said. “To stand out on TikTok it’s all abut fitting in. That’s really important for brands and creators to keep in mind.

“It’s what makes sense for your brand. It does not take many resources and you can have a different voice on TikTok that won’t show up on other platforms.”

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